Warning as farmers survive slurry fumes but animals killed

One of the two men overcome by slurry fumes in Co Fermanagh on Saturday remains in a stable condition in hospital
One of the two men overcome by slurry fumes in Co Fermanagh on Saturday remains in a stable condition in hospital

Farmers have been reminded of the dangers of working with slurry after two men were overcome with fumes in Co Fermanagh on Saturday.

Emergency services attended a farm in the Fintona area after the two men were overcome by slurry fumes.

While the fumes were powerful enough to kill three animals, believed to be cattle, that were in the vicinity at the time, thankfully, the two men were treated at the scene and survived.

They were transferred to hospital in Enniskillen in a non-life threatening condition.

A spokesperson for the Western Trust said yesterday that one of the men had been discharged, while the other remained in a stable condition in hospital.

While the slurry ban came into effect at midnight last night, Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Rosemary Barton urged the Department of Agriculture to “demonstrate flexibility” given the “pressures” faced by farmers.

The Ulster Unionist MLA said: “Once again this weekend we have been reminded of the dangers of working with slurry, and I wish the two men admitted to hospital as a result a full recovery.

“I know farmers have been under huge pressure this year with little chance of getting second crop silage made, together with the housing of animals early.

“It is still so important to observe all the necessary safety rules while trying to put out slurry. We unfortunately here in the Province are all too aware of the dangers.

“It is important that DAERA work in partnership with farmers , issue guidance and demonstrate flexibility to those many farmers who find themselves in an impracticable position to spread slurry.”

She added: “Arbitrary dates do not dictate weather patterns, as everyone knows, particularly farmers, and it is not practical to have all work that requires action on the land to take place just within certain time periods. These are pressures they do not need at this time.”

This weekend’s slurry fumes incident comes a month after the five-year anniversary of an incident involving slurry fumes that claimed the lives of three members of the same family.

On September 15 2012, Nevin Spence tragically passed away along with his father Noel and brother Graham in a slurry-related farming accident that rocked Northern Ireland.