Farmer charged over shooting in ‘right of way’ feud

72-year-old man has been charged with assault after allegedly shooting a fellow farmer on Friday, June 16, in an ongoing dispute over a right of way to land.

Judge Marie Keane granted Ted O’Donoghue of Kilmoreen, Kildimo, Co. Limerick, bail on condition that his brother William manages the farm at the site of the attack at Balleycasey, and that O’Donoghue reports daily to Newcastle West Garda station.

During the sitting at Limerick District Court, O’Donoghue’s brother agreed to monitor his actions and to accompany him to mass at a parish outside the area, with Judge Keane warning the accused that if he sees his neighbours, “you blank them; you don’t even look at them”.

John Hayes, a 65-year-old farmer, was shot in the shoulder during the attack – which fatally wounded his dog – at around 11:00am last Friday. His injuries were not life-threatening but he was taken to University Hospital Limerick by ambulance.

The court heard that Gardai recovered the weapon allegedly used in the attack from O’Donoghue’s van on the day of the incident, with the defendant warned not to have any contact with witnesses or surrounding landowners, and to keep away from areas where the local community gathers.

His brother William told the court the dispute over access to farmlands had been ongoing for seven-to-eight years, with Hayes one of three farmers believed to be using the right of way to enter parts of their own farms.

Hayes was reportedly shot while attempting to enter a field on his tractor. The farmer’s wife and two children were due to return home from a family holiday abroad on the day of the incident.

O’Donoghue, who was ordered not to return to the farm at Ballycasey, was assigned a curfew between 10:00pm and 8:00am under the terms of bail; he is due to appear before Limerick District Court tomorrow, June 20.

Bail was granted under an independent cash surety of €5,000.