FIANNA Fáil Cork North West TD Aindrias Moynihan has said that he is appalled at the almost 40% cut in farm safety expenditure for 2016.
Deputy Moynihan was commenting on the figures which showed the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) has a budget allocation of €244,000 in 2016 for farm safety initiatives; compared to €396,251 for such initiatives in 2015, which represents almost 40% reduction in funding year on year.
‘Coming just a week after farm safety week, this slashing of the farm safety budget will sound alarm bells for farming families in every parish of the country. Considering the tragic 18 fatalities in the agricultural sector in 2015 and a further eight this year, this budget cut will come as shocking news to the farming community. Meanwhile, the 2016 funding allocation is the lowest in over five years,’ said Deputy Moynihan.
Deputy Moynihan said these cuts were disappointing following the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine outlining the government’s commitment to improving the safety record on Irish farms.
‘Farm safety is an issue of growing concern due to the high number of tragic deaths in agricultural related activities annually, representing the biggest sector for work-related deaths. Similar accidents occur each year, with livestock, machinery and falls from heights three of the main causes of farm deaths.’
Deputy Moynihan also pointed out that it is particularly important that there is vigilance on farms as the summer months means more and more children will be spending time on the farm.
‘It is vital that the government sufficiently fund information and best practice health and safety campaigns and look to tackle the most vulnerable groups such as the young and the elderly. A drastic cut cannot be justified given the high number of deaths on farms each year,’ added Deputy Moynihan.