Clare quad calf owners take tag petition to Brussels

MEP Sean Kelly is today hosting the owners of the famous identical quad calves born last year, as they present a petition over cattle identity tags at a hearing in Brussels.

Over the last two decades, husband and wife Tom and Mary Clair, have grappled with a tagging issue – which they claim has “disadvantaged” their farm located in Lahinch, Co. Clare.

The Fine Gael MEP has worked with the family for many years in order to assist them to have their case heard by the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee.

The case dates back to March 2001, when the couple applied to a provider of cattle identity tags for additional tags.

However, it is understood that the District Veterinary Office of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine downsized the order – because the applicants had sufficient unused tags from the previous year.

According to the Clair’s, these unused tags had been accidentally burned.

“Refusal of the authorities to provide cattle identity tags left some of the petitioner’s animals untagged and unregistered,” said Kelly.

Due to the absence of tags, they were unable to sell their animals and did not have enough shelter for them on their farm.

In 2002, after the birth of the second lot of calves, the Clare farmers managed to receive additional tags for their herd.

However, Kelly highlights that as 2000, 2001 and 2002 were reference years for calculating eligibility for EU schemes, the Clair’s were “disadvantaged” due to not being able to register all of their animals.

Their payments were subsequently lower than the real numbers on their farms should have allowed.

The petitioners are seeking compensation from the Irish State and are seeking the farm premium rights allegedly withheld from them.

“I am pleased to have been able to support Mary and Tom Clair in bringing their case to the petitions committee. We await today’s hearing and the recommendations that may follow,” Kelly concluded.