Farmer given 1 day to move stock off land – or face jail

By Gordon Deegan

A judge has told a farmer in north Co. Clare that if he hasn’t removed 14 ewes and their lambs from a 1.5ac field owned by his brother, by tomorrow, Thursday, April 25, he will be sending him to jail.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan told the 51-year-old Co. Clare farmer: “I don’t care where they go – if they are not gone, you are going to jail”.

Judge Durkan told the farmer: “You must have every ewe and lamb removed from the lands by tomorrow. If they are not removed you are going down to Limerick prison.”

The man is before the court after breaching a barring order – concerning his brother – by entering his brother’s property on March 21.

As the case relates to a domestic violence order, the names of the parties can’t be disclosed.

The farmer has pleaded guilty to breaching the barring order and Sgt. Aiden Lonergan of Ennis Garda Station said that an undertaking was given in court two weeks ago that all animals would be removed by the farmer within seven days.

Animals in situ

Garda Lorraine Higgins told the court that following an inspection of the lands at 10:00am all animals were still in situ.

Garda Higgins said that she spoke to the farmer before court and said: “I don’t believe he has any place to put any of these animals in the near future”.

Solicitor for the farmer John Casey said that his client has complied with the parts of the order of the court where his client has undertaken not to go anywhere near the land himself.

Casey said that this was the man’s brother’s main worry and that a named third party has been looking after the animals.

Judge Durcan told the man that he must also have the ownership cards of the 29 cattle currently located in the field at Gort District Court on Thursday.

The judge told the farmer that if didn’t have all of the ownership cards, he would be revoking the man’s bail and would be sending him to Limerick prison.

Judge Durcan said that the difficulty in moving the cattle off the land is that you can’t move livestock “willy-nilly”.

Garda Andrew Monahan told the court that that the farmer requires a removal cert for the animals stating that the original difficulty was that the farmer didn’t have a removal cert to move the livestock onto the lands in the first place.

Stocking rate

Garda Monahan said that there are 29 cattle and 14 ewes with lambs on 1.5ac at the moment.

Judge Durcan said that “the lambs will easily find a home”.

In response, Garda Monahan said that the lambs are only a few weeks old “and where the sheep go, the lambs go”.

In evidence, the farmer told of his efforts to secure alternative lands for the animals at three locations.

Judge Durcan also ordered that a Department of Agriculture official be in court in Gort to deal with the ownership certs.

He concluded by saying: “Let’s put this on a proper track.”