Castlewellan farmer prosecuted following death of labourer

Date published: 05 July 2021

The Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland (HSENI) has investigated a fatal incident which subsequently has 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 in May 2018 of Mr Toirdealbhach Larkin, known as Turlough, a 27 year old employee of Mr Doyle.

Latest prosecution result

Mr Doyle, who had pleaded guilty to the offence at an earlier hearing was today 5 July fined £25,000 at Newry Crown Court.

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”

                                                                                                                                    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 4th 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

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Notes to editors: 

  1. Breaches and fines for Mr William James Doyle are as follows:
    a) Article 4(1), of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, fine £25,000.
  2. For media enquiries please contact: HSENI Press office on 028 9024 3249 or email For Out of Office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

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