Northern Ireland news

Farmer admits failing to ensure health and safety of employee killed on his farm

Toirdealbhach Larkin who was tragically killed in a farming accident.

A CO Down farmer has admitted failing to ensure the health and safety of an employee who was killed on his farm.

With William James Doyle (51) standing in the dock of Newry Crown Court, defence counsel Kevin Magill asked the single count to be put to him again.

As the family of Toirdealbhach Larkin watched the proceedings by videolink, Doyle entered a guilty plea that on May 4 2018, "being an employer, failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all your employees".

None of the facts were opened in court but it was reported at the time that Mr Larkin (22), the son of Sinn Féin councillor Mickey Larkin and a father-of-three from Bessbrook, was working at a shed on a farm in Katesbridge by himself when a slab fell and struck him.

Mr Magill suggested that with accounts and tax returns already lodged with the court that Judge Gordon Kerr QC could pass sentence yesterday but prosecuting counsel Geraldine McCullough indicated that Mr Larkin's family wanted to file victim impact statements.

Doyle, from the Kinallen Road, Ballyward, Castlewellan, was freed on continuing bail and Judge Kerr said he would pass sentence on July 5.

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