Three people have been injured following a bull attack in a Co. Clare mart, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has confirmed.

The attack reportedly took place yesterday, May 25, in Ennis Mart. Three people are believed to have been injured during the incident, which took place in the loading/unloading area of the mart.

One person was taken to University Hospital Limerick due to injuries sustained.

It is believed the bull involved in the attack was brought away to be slaughtered after the incident.

An investigation into the bull attack is set to be carried out by the HSA; an inspector is expected to attend the scene at some point today.

Ensuring an accident of this nature doesn’t occur again will be a priority for the inspector and the HSA. The inspector will look to see if extra safety measures can be put in place to minimise the risk of an attack in the future.

Every Thursday there is a sale of bullocks, heifers, dry cows and aged bulls in Ennis Mart.

Meanwhile, an array of weanlings, dairy stock, suckler stock, runners, calves and sheep are on offer every Tuesday.

‘A unique set of health and safety risks’

The HSA has previously advised farmers that livestock marts, as well as the lairages of abattoirs, present a unique set of health and safety risks.

The fact that there are large numbers of animals present in unfamiliar surroundings can pose very serious risks; occasionally, there have been serious and fatal accidents in marts and lairages, the HSA added.

A combination of excellent facilities, competent handlers and well-defined safe systems of work can greatly reduce the risk of accidents.

Cattle can become agitated in a mart or lairage for a number of reasons, including:
  • Different layout;
  • Different people;
  • Unfamiliar sounds and often loud noises;
  • They are likely to be separated from their herd-mates;
  • No immediate feed is available.

When cattle become nervous, they can turn aggressive; cattle that are normally docile can become dangerous and certainly less predictable, according to the HSA.