No arrests made yet after theft and recovery of cattle in Mayo

Gardaí have confirmed that enquiries are “ongoing” in relation to the theft of six cattle from a farm in Co. Mayo last week.

The bullocks are thought to have been taken between Monday night (October 5) and Tuesday morning last from land in the Knocknageehe area of Co. Mayo and were recovered near Balla, Co. Mayo late last Friday night (October 9).

The animals taken included a mix of Charolais and Limousin bullocks and were noticed gone when owner John O’Reilly was herding on the Monday evening.

A reward was offered by the O’Reilly family for the return or information on the whereabouts of the livestock.

Speaking to AgriLand, owner Niamh O’Reilly said that they received a call very early Saturday morning from the local garda station in Ballinrobe stating that a young farmer had discovered what could potentially be their missing six cattle.

She said: “This young farmer had noticed a cattle truck – he didn’t know what they were at first – he knew the field that it was at…they had no reason to be there at that time of the night Friday night.

When he started to approach the truck, it took off and it kind of left one lad behind.

“He [young farmer] pulled up and asked ‘what’s going on here?’ and one of them just jumped in over the wall into bullwire and whatnot and I think kept on running.

“He followed the truck a little bit down the road and he swung in then to his own home house to get his uncle or father and in the meantime, the truck had actually turned and was coming back down again. It didn’t stop for the guy who had obviously kept running through the fields.

The field in question belongs to a neighbour of the young farmer who is in his 80s and he has four cattle in stock.

When the farmer went into the field in question, he noticed there were 10 cattle in the field.

“He had seen the [news] articles and he had seen my social media appeal, so he contacted the guards… who contacted us as 1 o’ clock [1:00am],” said Niamh.

We proceeded to go down and identify the cattle. We logged on to our ag-food spreadsheet to confirm the tag numbers.

Hero young farmer

The young farmer who discovered the stolen cattle wants to remain anonymous but the O’Reillys have said they can’t thank him enough.

“I couldn’t commend him enough, for firstly looking out for his own neighbour; who he knew that somebody at that hour of the night had no business to be at this man’s field,” said Niamh.

“He was fantastic, I couldn’t praise him enough. Very humble people – him and his uncle.

There are a few theories… were they trying to take all (10) of the cattle. There was a local mart there in Balla on Saturday morning; whether they were being left there; whether someone else was going to come and take them; who knows?

“We were delighted anyway to get them back. Saturday morning we all went down and recovered them, ” she said.

Gardaí have so far not made any arrests, however a spokesperson has confirmed that the investigation is continuing.