Republic of Ireland news

TikTok farm machinery pranks ‘grossly irresponsible'

Aine McMahon, PA

The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has condemned people carrying out pranks while using farm machinery as “grossly irresponsible”.

The warning comes as videos on TikTok show people carrying out pranks with the equipment.

TikTok said its safety team is carrying out an investigation.

A spokesman added: “The safety of users is our top priority, and we do not allow content that encourages or replicates dangerous challenges that might lead to injury. Our safety team is investigating, and we will take appropriate action in line with our community guidelines.”

IFA spokesman Niall Madigan told the PA news agency it is highly unsafe to operate farm machinery or drive a tractor while making videos at the same time.

Mr Madigan said in one video a man can be seen sitting on the bonnet of a tractor while it is cutting silage, and in another two tractors can be seen trying to overtake each other on a road.

“You can’t do two things at once – operating heavy, serious machinery and being on your phone at the same time – these things are not compatible,” he said.

He added: “Not only are you putting yourself at risk, you’re putting other road users and people at risk. We have already had eight farm-related deaths this year – that is eight too many as far as we are concerned.

“I would urge people not to put themselves and others at risk for the sake of getting views on TikTok.”

IFA president Tim Cullinan said farm employers and contractors should make such behaviour “a sackable offence”.

“This practice is grossly irresponsible and is an accident waiting to happen.

“I am disgusted that people could be so casual and have no regard for the dangers involved in what they are doing.

“All farmers and contractors need to make it clear to their employees that engaging in these practices is a sackable offence,” he said.

“People carrying on like this should take a hard look at themselves. Too often, people are not willing to act responsibly and identify the risks,” he added.

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