Republic of Ireland news

Child dies after an accident at a farm in Co Mayo

A little boy, believed to be four years old, has died after being hurt in a farming accident in Co Mayo
Gail Bell

INVESTIGATIONS are underway following the death of a child in a farm accident in Co Mayo.

The boy, believed to be four years old, had been visiting family at Ballinaboy, Belmullet, when he was reportedly hit by a trailer at around 8.30pm last night.

He was rushed to Belmullet District Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

The scene has been preserved for technical examination as gardai and the Health and Safety Authority investigate the circumstances and a postmortem examination is due to be carried out at Castlebar Hospital today.

The number of deaths in farm-related incidents in the Republic so far this year has gone into double figures, with more than 30 people killed in farm accidents across the island last year.

Three children in the north have died as a result of farm accidents during the last decade while just last month Scarva farmer and former Ulster Unionist councillor on Banbridge District Council, John Hanna (66), died when his tractor overturned at Ballintoy, Co Antrim.

Since 2000 there have been 11 child farm deaths in the north, with five occurring during the summer months.

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland has urged continued diligence and said the recent Child Safety on Farms Week highlighted the "need for extra vigilance" over school holidays when the risk of accidents was at its highest.

The safety campaign is chosen to coincide with the beginning of school holidays when children often spend more time on the farm during what is a very busy and potentially hazardous period.

Run by HSENI and supported by members of the Farm Safety Partnership, the Campaign is "committed to eliminating fatal accidents through an extensive education and outreach programme".

In the Republic, the Heatlh and Safety Authority (HSA) has warned that around 60 per cent of farm accident now involve tractor and machinery.

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