The Secretary of State and the First and Deputy First Ministers are among those to have expressed their sympathy following the death of eight-year-old Robert Christie in a farming accident near Dunloy at the weekend.
Theresa Villiers said: “This is a terrible accident and the tragic loss of a young life. The news of Robert’s death will have shocked Northern Ireland’s farming community.
“I send my sincere sympathies to his bereaved family and wish his father a full recovery.”
First Minister Peter Robinson described the events as “tragic” and said: “My thoughts and prayers are with the family at the centre of this awful situation.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was shocked and saddened to learn about the farming tragedy in north Antrim.
“My sympathy and prayers are with the family,” he said.
The Health and Safety Executive are investigating and Chief Executive Keith Morrison has expressed his sympathy.
“The news from Dunloy is devastating and my thoughts are first and foremost with members of the family and the local community at this terrible time.
“Incidents like this show starkly the dangers which our farming communities face and my heart goes out to those affected by this tragic accident.”
Addressing the issue of farm safety, he added: “The facts tell us that farming is our most dangerous industry and that is why members of the Farm Safety Partnership - government and the farming industry together - will continue to work every day to try to avoid these tragic events occurring.’
“Work with slurry, animals, falls from heights and working with equipment continue to be the main dangers within the industry. I urge all farmers remain vigilant to the dangers and to stop and think SAFE before starting any job on the farm.
“Children on farms can be particularly vulnerable and the Health and Safety Executive will continue to work with local schools to raise awareness of the dangers on farms.”
Ballymoney mayor John Finlay also passed on his condolences as well as on behalf of the local community.
Referring to little Robert’s father, also called Robert, Cllr Finlay continued: “Robert is a farmer himself, he was helping another out and this tragedy happened, we just don’t know all the circumstances but we do know a family today is in grief.
“The whole community will unite in hoping that the father pulls through and things get a little better for the family.”
North Antrim TUV MLA Jim Allister said: “I think the thoughts are very much with the family, to lose a child in any circumstances is heart-rending and to lose them in the circumstances of a farm accident for this family is truly awful.
“Then to have found that the father is fighting for his life it’s just an unbearable burden for them, I’m sure and our thoughts and prayers are with this family at this time.”
Sinn Féin MLA for the area Daithí McKay says the community has been shocked by the news.
“The thoughts and prayers of everybody in this rural community are with the family of those involved in this tragic incident” he said.
Former councillor and neighbour of the Christie family, Willie Logan added: “This family is a neighbour of mine and on behalf of all the surrounding houses I would like to pass on our greatest sympathy. Everyone I speak to are in total shock. The neighbours just don’t know what to say to each other.
“The Christie family belong to Ballyweaney Presbyterian Church where I am an Elder and they are an extremely decent family and our hearts go out to them all at this very difficult time.”
Ballymoney Alderman Harry Connolly said: “I would like to express my deepest sadness and sorrow and offer my heartfelt condolences to the Christie family on the untimely death of young Robert. I wish on behalf of all my constituents a full recovery to his father, Robert, and who along with his family are in our prayers at this time.”