Tractor being driven by boy (12) is an isolated case, says IFA

But farming body’s safety chief urges families to remind children of their responsibilities

The vehicle was stopped by gardaí in the early hours of Saturday morning. Photograph: Meath Crime Prevention/Facebook

The vehicle was stopped by gardaí in the early hours of Saturday morning. Photograph: Meath Crime Prevention/Facebook

 

Farm families need to make young people aware of their responsibilities when driving a tractor, the head of health and safety at the Irish Farmers’ Association has said.

William Shortall was commenting following an incident in Trim, Co Meath where a 12-year-old was intercepted driving in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Mr Shortall explained to RTÉ radio’s News at One that the age limit to drive a tractor on the road was 16 years and 14 years on the farm having first taken a formal training course.

Children and adolescents who grow up on farms know their responsibilities, he said. The incident in Trim was an isolated incident, he believed, and he did not think underage driving was a widespread practice.

On Sunday, gardaí­ expressed relief that the tractor driven by a 12-year old was intercepted safely in Meath. The 12-year-old was accompanied by an 8-year-old and a 15-year-old when the tractor was stopped by gardaí at 12.30am.

A post by Meath Crime Prevention Facebook page, accompanying a picture of the vehicle, read: “Members from Unit C Meath Roads Policing stopped this John Deere tractor at 00.30am this morning in Trim town.

“They found three boys in the cab. A 12-year-old was driving the vehicle, accompanied by a 15-year-old and an 8-year-old.

“They were brought to Trim garda station and their parents were contacted.”

Meath Sgt Ronan Farrelly said there was “a huge sense of relief” among all the gardaí­ involved.

“Trim was very busy at that time last night because of Christmas parties and generally people out and about socialising.

“They couldn’t believe it when they saw three young boys driving around the town in a tractor.

“It was a bizarre incident but everyone is just relieved that they were intercepted safely before any harm might have happened them or anyone else by way of an accident. Investigations are ongoing.”