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July 15, 2021

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In court

Farmer prosecuted following death of labourer

The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) investigated a fatal incident which subsequently led to the prosecution of Mr William James Doyle, a farmer from Ballyward, Castlewellan, for breaches of health and safety legislation.

The case followed the death of Mr Toirdealbhach Larkin, known as Turlough, a 27-year-old employee of Mr Doyle.

Mr Larkin had been working as a casual labourer on the farm owned by Mr Doyle since February 2018. In May 2018 a new farm shed was being built, with steel shuttering panels being used to support the concrete walls while they set.

Early on the morning of 4 May 2018, Mr Larkin had been working alone at the farmyard. Later another worker arrived at the farm and discovered Mr Larkin trapped between a steel shuttering panel and an adjacent steel fence. Sadly, Mr Larkin passed away at the scene.

Mr Doyle, who had pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing was last week fined £25,000 at Newry Crown Court for breaching Article 4(1), of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978.

Speaking after sentencing HSENI Inspector Anne Cassidy said: “If farmers employ staff they have a responsibility to ensure their safety, whether full time or casual staff.

“In this case, the absence of proper supervision and inappropriate access to dangerous equipment resulted in the tragic incident.”

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