“I would advise everyone to hug their family and the people who are closest to you. It might feel strange doing this, but it is a lot stranger doing it when they’re cold.”
Those of the words of PJ Fitzsimons, whose father Peter, died in a farm accident earlier this year. Peter sustained fatal injuries when he fell from the roof of a shed last August.
Fall from shed roof
In a video released by Embrace FARM, the Inniskeen, Co. Monaghan native recalls his father’s tragic passing.
“Two weeks ago, my father landed back to the farm all excited about this shed that he had come across that he wanted to buy in Louth village.”
“He took me out to a yard and showed me as he described a great spot for it and talked about all the bales it was going to hold for us. He said: ‘Come on over the road and we’ll make a deal with him.’ And so, we did.”
“Last weekend’s job was to take this shed down. Little did he know that it would also take his life. We were only working at it for a few hours and the boss man landed back after having tea.”
“I was working hard on the ground getting things organised when he shot past me and climbed straight up a ladder. I followed him up soon after to see what was going on. As I was halfway up the ladder, I heard the cracking, and I knew what it was. I rushed to the top of the ladder.”
“When I got there, da was nowhere to be seen. I let a roar to Brian and when he turned around, he saw the broken Perspex sheet and looked down and saw him.”
“I hurried down the ladder and ran to the bottom of the shed where I landed to an absolute mess. Da was lying on his side with his eyes closed, taking his last few short breaths.”
“James made the phone call as I started to give CPR to my father. Brian came to our aid. And help his wound with his gloves, his hand couldn’t cover it.”
James returned with a DFIB and placed it on his body. On two occasions, it said no shock was advised. “I thought we had him. As the three of us kept doing our job, I kept shouting: ‘Come on da, it’s not your time yet. We still have you. I still need you.’”
Paramedics and PJ’s mother and sisters arrived on the farm. “The echoes of the cows in the shed will ever be ringing in my ears as they watched the paramedics try everything, they could but to no success.”
“I stood back at this stage as my sisters came to their hands and knees around them. My mother lay across him saying: ‘My poor wee man’ as she held him warm for the last time.”
Message from family
“Da will, unfortunately, be another statistic for 2020 farm accidents. I will have to teach health and safety to my students next year.”
“I will have to stand there and explain to them how my father ended up on a list in front of them. This accident could all have been avoided.” explained the secondary school teacher.
“I want everyone to take on board my family’s sincere message to you. Be safe at everything you do. Our lives have been torn upside down as a result of this accident. We can assure you no family wants to go through this.”
“My father, as most of you know, was my best friend. Since the worldwide pandemic, we have had more time to work together.”
“One wouldn’t be seen without the other. He helped me set up Fitz Haylage and was behind me every step of the way.”
“The boss man got a great send-off. It is what he would have wanted. The closing of summer 2020 was one we never want to witness again.” PJ added.