Ploughman remembered with a minute of silence

A single candle flickered on a counter in the headquarters of the National Ploughing Championships at Screggan in Tullamore yesterday.

Ploughman remembered with a minute of silence

It was a moving reminder of all those who have died or suffered injury in farm accidents countrywide.

But it took on a more poignant significance after Martin Kehoe Jr, the champion ploughman, lost his life in a farm accident in Co Wexford, the previous day.

The candle bore the emblem of Embrace Farm, the organisation which supports families after the death or serious injury of a loved one from a farm accident.

Ireland’s ploughing community was still in shock yesterday at the death of one of its best-known members.

Judges and stewards observed one minute of silence at the start of the second day of the championships.

Ploughing competitors also stood in silence for a minute beside the ploughing plots in a further mark of respect to their departed colleague and friend.

He was the 16th person to die in a farm accident so far this year.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed extended sympathies to the Kehoe family whom he described as blue-bloods in the history of the ploughing championships and who had represented Ireland internationally.

Describing farmyards as the most challenging workplace environments in terms of fatal and other serious accidents, he said farm safety is not an issue that the State, or his department, or any agency alone can solve.

“We need to bring to bear on this issue the same collaborative approach that we have generally in agri-culture and that helped us become a global leader. I think if we do that, we can succeed,” he said.

Mr Creed also urged children to become ambassadors for safety in farmyards to help ensure issues that need to be addressed are done so in a timely fashion.

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