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Coveney announces new service to Assist Bereaved Farm Families

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD has announced a new service that his Department will provide to the families of farmers who have suffered sudden tragedies and face subsequent challenges in their dealings with issues surrounding ownership, entitlements, scheme applications, succession and inheritance etc.

A sudden loss causes huge levels of stress on all families and in the particular case of farm families Minister Coveney said that “dealing with the business of running a family farm in the aftermath of a family tragedy places enormous pressure on those left behind. I want to ensure that my Department provides the necessary assistance during this period of distress”.

It is clear, according to the Minister, “that while we always aim to simplify schemes and programmes and particularly, to have clarity surrounding rights and entitlements, there is a greater burden on families left behind in the aftermath of a sudden loss in dealing with unfamiliar matters such as these”.

In order to respond to such circumstances the Minister has decided to establish a co-ordinated service, or single point of contact in his Department for families who have suffered a sudden loss and who may not have experience in dealing with the type of day to day issues that might bring them in contact with the Department in relation to schemes and services. The range of schemes and services are very broad so farm families who need assistance at a time of great upset in their lives will be given all the assistance and guidance that can be provided to make their dealings with the Department as easy and as straightforward as possible.

A single point of contact within the Quality Customer Services Unit will be established where staff will be available to assist families in responding to their queries and concerns and providing them with comprehensive and expert responses to the issues. It will be the role of the Quality Customer Services Unit to ensure that queries relating to any area of the Department are managed at this single point of contact and they will maintain contact with families until all issues have been brought to a conclusion. Families who find themselves in such circumstance may contact the Quality Customer Services Unit at qualityserviceunit@agriculture.gov.ie  or lo-call 0761 064445 and the service will commence on Monday 29th September 2014. The Quality Services Unit can also be contacted by post at Assistance Liaison Officer, Quality Services Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Grattan House, Grattan Business Centre, Dublin Road, Portlaoise, Co Laois

In conclusion, the Minister said that “I want to commend the very fine work being led by EMBRACE. I was privileged in June to attend a special service in Abbeyleix, where I met and spoke with members of farm families who lost a loved one in very tragic circumstances. Their loss was huge and yet their spirit was indomitable, wanting to pick up the pieces and get on with the business of farming as best they could. I was very touched by the issues that were raised and this initiative is part and parcel of my response to provide as much support and practical help as possible to assist any farm family who has been bereaved, whether that be through serious injury or death as a result of a farm accident, or whether a person has died by suicide or due to sudden illness”.

 To view this as a PDF please click here: DAFMPR 137/2014 (pdf 545Kb) 

Date Released: 24 September 2014