By Gordon Deegan

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is opposing a bid by a convicted Co. Galway vet to obtain a court transcript of his district court hearing.

Earlier this year at Gort District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan convicted south Galway vet, Felim Mac Eoin and fined him €2,500 for possessing an unauthorised animal remedy – sarcoid cream – which Mac Eoin used to treat cancerous skin tumours in horses.

The prosecution was taken by DAFM, and Felim Mac Eoin of Caherillan, Kinvara, Co. Galway has appealed the penalty to Galway Circuit Court with the appeal due to be heard in October.

Transcript of district court hearing

In advance of the hearing of the appeal, Felim Mac Eoin’s solicitor, Colm Mac Eoin made an application seeking a transcript of the Digital Audio Recording (DAR) of the district court hearing into the case.

However, at Gort District Court, state solicitor for Co. Galway, William Kennedy confirmed that DAFM is opposing the DAR transcript application. 

The state solicitor stated that the district court rules specify that a DAR transcript can be made available, if the court deems that it is done so in the interests of justice.

He added that “this case was dealt with in January and the defendant [Felim Mac Eoin] pleaded guilty. The matter was dealt with and he has appealed against the penalty imposed by this court and the appeal is pending”.

William Kennedy said that Felim Mac Eoin requires the transcript of the DAR in order to deal with his appeal as his counsel (or barrister) requires it to advise on proofs.

The state solicitor stated that they are the only grounds offered.

‘Interests of justice’

Judge Mary Larkin stated that “I don’t believe a letter from a barrister saying to me ‘to advise on proofs’ covers ‘in the interests of justice’”.

The judge stated that a further affidavit is required if Felim Mac Eoin wishes to advance the application for the DAR recording.

She adjourned the application to September 9, and directed that a new affidavit be lodged to court and be copied to William Kennedy in advance of the court hearing into the application.

Possession of sarcoid cream by the Galway vet

In the district court in January, Judge Patrick Durcan stated that Felim Mac Eoin had “compromised the horse industry” here when taking possession of the unauthorised animal remedy three years ago.

A DAFM inspector found the sarcoid cream in the boot of Felim Mac Eoin’s car outside his Galway Equine Clinic, Kilcolgan on May 8, 2018.

Judge Durcan also ordered Mac Eoin – who works exclusively with horses – to pay department costs of €5,000 in the case.

Felim MacEoin pleaded guilty to the possession charge concerning the sarcoid cream at the time.

A married father of four, Felim Mac Eoin had a previously unblemished career. 

He provided sarcoid cream to horses and the horse’s passport was always stamped ‘not fit for human consumption‘ so the horses concerned never entered the food chain.