Other News In Brief

Farmer Fined After Teenager Found Unconscious In Tractor

A farmer from Co Tyrone has been fined for failing to maintain safe conditions on his farm after a 14-year-old worker was found unconscious in a tractor that was mixing slurry inside a farm building.

Mr Charles Elkin was fined at Dungannon Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, 31 October after pleading guilty.

The teenager had been asked to stay in the tractor while the slurry was being mixed and to switch the tractor off if it started to overheat.

HSENI Inspector Anne Cassidy, said: "Too many fatal incidents have occurred over recent years involving slurry mixing. Following the slurry mixing code can prevent accidents and save lives. Once mixing starts everyone should get out and stay out for at least 30 minutes.

"In this case the farmer failed to follow the accepted advice, placing a young and inexperienced employee at significant risk from exposure to the potentially deadly gas produced during mixing. This incident was easily preventable."

Call For Co Fermanagh School To Be Kept Open

Sinn Féin is calling on the Department of Education to take into account the unique circumstances facing St Mary's High School in Brollagh, Fermanagh, and save it from closure.

Commenting ahead of attending a meeting with the Department and the parents' action group, Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Jemma Dolan said: "The consultation on the proposal to close St Mary's ends on November 20th, after which the Department will have to decide whether or not to keep the school open.
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"There have been a number of attempts to close the school but, on each occasion, the proposal has been rejected, most recently by then Minister John O'Dowd.

"John O'Dowd accepted the fact that the school's isolated location meant pupils would be facing an unreasonable travel distance to the nearest available post-primary if St Mary's was to close.

"But instead of recognising the unique issues facing St Mary's and coming up with feasible alternatives to sustain it, CCMS have simply produced yet another proposal to close the school."

Changes To Gambling Laws Are Necessary - SDLP

SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty has said that changes to gambling laws are necessary to protect people from addiction and financial hardship.

Speaking after the British Government announced plans to consult on new gambling rules, Mr McNulty said: "Gambling addiction has become a serious and widespread problem. Whether it's those pursuing the thrill of winning or others desperately in need of quick money, too many are being drawn into a dark world of addiction and financial hardship.

"In all of this, gambling companies continue to act irresponsibly. Concerned with only their own profit margins, there’s virtually no check on the amount individuals are losing.

"Over the last number of years high profile names, particularly in the world of sport and locally in the GAA, have come forward to tell their stories of addiction. Their powerful testimony should be a spur to change the law and regulate these practices.

"It's extremely frustrating that without power sharing institutions, we can’t get down to doing the job of legislating to protect people and hold the gambling industry responsible for the misery they inflict on so many."


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