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Co Tyrone farmer Alastair Sloss died a day before deadline for slurry spreading

Alastair Sloss pictured with daughter Rebekah. The Coagh farmer died on Friday evening following a slurry related accident 
Gareth McKeown

THE weekend deadline for slurry spreading put farmers under pressure to get on with the task in often "unsuitable" weather conditions, an SDLP MLA has claimed.

Mid Ulster assembly member Patsy McGlone said that Saturday's deadline placed an added safety risk on farmers.

He was speaking after farmer Alastair Sloss died in a slurry tank tragedy at his farm in Coagh, Co Tyrone - a day before the deadline was to pass.

The father-of-five, who was in his 50s, died at his farm on the Ruskey Road on Friday evening. It is believed he was overcome with fumes.

With recent bad weather and more predicted farmers had been under immense pressure to finish spreading before the closed perood which runs until January 31.

The weather also affected the emptying of slurry from tanks with farmers in the north and west facing a major challenge.

Agriculture minister Michelle McIlveen had even announced her department would consider an extension of the deadline on a case by case basis in "exceptional circumstances".

Mr McGlone said: "You only had to drive through the countryside last week to see the number of farmers out in completely unsuitable weather struggling to get the slurry spread to meet this deadline.

"The pressure this deadline puts on farmers should certainly be considered given the risks it poses to their safety and also considering that farming is often a solitary occupation in isolated and sometimes dangerous environments," he said.

Mr Sloss was buried on Monday in an adjoining graveyard following a service at Saltersland Presbyterian Church, Magherafelt.

In the wake of his death the father-of-five was described as a "good neighbour", "a very hard-working man" and a "gentleman" in a series of online tributes.

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