WEST CORK farmers gathered in Bantry on Tuesday night last for a unique opportunity to meet with members of the security, fire, coastal protection, customs and health and safety services.
At the IFA-organised event attendees listened and discussed issues facing farming communities across rural West Cork with members of An Garda Síochána, the Naval Service, the Cork Fire Service and the Customs as well as discussing farm safety issues with the IFA’s health and safety executive, Willie Shorthall.
‘There have been 14 deaths on farms this year,’ Willie said. ‘Farms are dangerous places and more needs to be done by farmers to ensure that safety is a top priority.’
Crime prevention officer, Sgt James O’Donovan urged farmers to ensure that their homes, equipment and property is ready for the winter months. ‘Burglary in West Cork is down again this year by 8%,’ he said.
‘However, we all have to ensure that we don’t make it easy for these travelling criminals by letting the Gardaí know of any suspicious cars or vans in our communities. Fitting home alarms, lights and ensuring all equipment is secure is vital, but also get involved with your local Community Alert scheme.’
Sgt O’Donovan also urged farmers to ensure that all their equipment and machinery is tagged, a free service that makes stolen equipment easier to trace. ‘It is also vitally important to know your Eircode as this will help services get to you quickly.’ Senior fire officer Cormac Daly outlined the urgent necessity for every home to have working smoke alarms. ‘They are not that expensive and will save your life.’ Captain Brian Fitzgerald representing the Naval Service and Orla Stack of Customs & Excise outlined the work carried out by these services and urged communities along the coast to report any suspicious activity offshore or at piers in their areas.
Cork West Garda Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan said: ‘I want to thank all the State agencies here at this event and I want to thank Cornie Buckley and the IFA for organising it. Each of the agencies here are all totally dependent on you and the communities across West Cork and we want to thank you all for your support and with all the agencies and the communities working together there are very few challenges that we can’t face down.’
Speaking after the meeting West Cork IFA chairman Cornie Buckley said that organising the event was an excellent opportunity to have all the main agencies together to highlight the importance of community support.