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"The Urgent Need for Improved Farm Safety Cannot be Stressed Often Enough" - Minister of State, Shane McEntee TD

"Before we go much further into the farming year, I am appealing to everyone involved in farming to constantly bear in mind the paramount necessity of focussing on farm health and safety", the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD has said.

Minister of State McEntee was speaking at the presentation of FETAC Level 5 Certificates in Health and Safety to 112 farmers in Athy, County Kildare.   The training course was organised through the Kildare / Laois Unit of Teagasc who have been organising similar courses for the past seven years.   The farmers involved are drawn from all age groups and are involved in a variety of farm enterprises.   As part of the course, each farmer created a Risk Assessment specific to their own farm as well as a full Health and Safety Statement.

The Minister of State presented the Certificates at a ceremony today in the Clanard Court Hotel, Athy, County Kildare.

"We are now heading into the busiest season in farming.  It is, of course, important to get training in health and safety but it is also important that each and everyone takes personal responsibility for our own safety and that of others. I grew up and worked on a farm.  Because of that experience, I am passionate about the need for greater awareness about farm health and safety", the Minister of State told the farmers.

He continued: "One in every two industrial accidents happens on a farm.   Already this year, we have seen four farm fatalities.  This is a shocking statistic.  We need to work hard to reduce it significantly, with the ultimate aim of eliminating farm fatalities."

My own Department has a very strong commitment to promoting Farm Safety in tandem with the Health and Safety Authority through provision of a Code of Practice to all farmers and also including Farm Safety in all REPS training courses.

"Finally, I want to wish all of you the very best for the future in your various enterprises.   I was honoured and privileged when the Taoiseach asked me to take on the job of Minister of State with responsibility for Food, Horticulture and Food Safety.   The food and horticulture sector has the potential to make an enormous contribution to getting our economy and our people back on track.  I assure you that I will not be found wanting in that endeavour."

Date Released: 19 April 2011