‘Consumers must pay price of farm safety’

Councillor Curran has claimed that consumers have a role to play in improving farm safety.
Councillor Curran has claimed that consumers have a role to play in improving farm safety.

Consumer demand for ever cheaper food plays its part in the number of accidents on local farms, according to Councillor Brendan Curran.

The Sinn Fein councillor, himself from a farming background, he said, insisted that when it came to the mounting pressures on farmers, there was a responsibility on all of us.

His comments came as Banbridge council last week extended its sympathies to the family of 10-year-old Aaron Macauley, who died following an accident on the family farm in the Slieve Croob area,

“There is a need for farmers and everyone involved in agriculture to be aware of the dangers,” he said, “but there is a responsibility on all of us. The pressure in on farmers to produce because we want our food for nothing.”

Mr Curran said the demand for cheaper food forced farmers to over-produce their land and to use larger and larger machinery.

Consumers would have to pay more, he insisted, to allow farming to go back to being “a bit more comfortable and relaxed”.

Alliance’s Councillor Sheila McQuaid, meanwhile, appealed to every farmer in the district to “think twice when children are allowed near big machinery”.

Extending her deepest sympathies to the Macauley family, she added, “to lose a son at the age of 10 doesn’t ebar thinking about.”

Earlier, council chairman, Councillor Olive Mercer, led a round of condolences for the Macauley family and all families in the district who have suffered bereavement in recent weeks”, among them that of council officer Vivian Murphy, to whom she extended symoathy for the loss of her husband.

On behalf of their respective party groupings, Councillors Daid Herron (DUP), Seamus Doyle (SDLP), John Hanna (UUP) and Paul Gribben (SF) also extended sympathies to the recently bereaved, noting between them the deep and widespread shock in the community at news of 10-year-old Aaron’s death in particular.

The family, they said, were in everyone’s thoughts and prayers.

Mr Hanna added, “It will take the family a long time, if ever they do recover, from the loss of their youngest son.”