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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
CATTLE removed under garda escort from a farm last Thursday after their owner was jailed for refusing to leave the land have mysteriously returned to the hillside holding at Rathcahill, Templeglantine, Co Limerick.
Sixteen "squatter" cattle were removed by the Roche family, lawful owners of the 40-acre piece of land, while the owner of the animals, Danny Doherty, remains in Limerick prison, refusing to purge his contempt of the court order that he has no right to the land.
The animals, 15 dry stock and one cow, were removed under garda escort to land owned by Doherty near Sugar Hill, Templeglantine, about 10km from the land at Rathcahill.
Michael O’Donnell, solicitor for Eamonn Roche, who is acting for 12 members of the Roche family, who are the beneficial owners of the land following the death of two uncles, said: "Five cattle who were among those removed last Thursday have turned up on the land again in recent days. We know they are the same cattle belonging to Danny Doherty because of the tag numbers, and I don’t think they found their own way back, a distance of six miles."
Mr O’Donnell said his clients will now have to take further action to remove the cattle.
A prison source confirmed yesterday that Doherty is still in Limerick prison, where he was committed on July 29, for contempt of court.
Bachelor brothers Eddie and Matt Roche farmed the craggy hillside holding at Rathcahill. They eked out a living with a few dairy cows and also kept a few greyhounds.
Matt died in 2002. When Eddie passed away two years later, battle lines were drawn in a bitter struggle for the holding.
A nephew of the brothers, Eamonn Roche, was appointed administrator of the property, which also had a dwelling, on behalf of 12 nephews and nieces.
Doherty challenged their right to the land, saying he helped the bachelor brothers run the farm, saving hay and walking their greyhounds.
He also claimed Matt told him the land was his when he and his brother died.
He lost his case in the Circuit Court and an appeal by him was thrown out by the High Court.
Emmet O’Brien, counsel for the Roche family, described Doherty in court as "a land grabber".
After a week in jail, Doherty was brought back to a special sitting of the Circuit Court last Friday and still refused to give an undertaking to purge his contempt and not enter the land.
Judge Carroll Moran said when he had a change of mind, the court would facilitate his early release.
As Doherty was led away by prison officers, another problem surfaced.
He still had 15 cattle and one cow grazing on the land at Rathcahill. Mr O’Brien said they would transfer the animals to the Doherty land if given garda cover.
Last Thursday, Sergeant John Lynch and six gardaí travelled to the farm with Mr Roche and some of his relatives.
On arrival, they found a four-foot high pile of rocks blocking the entrance.
A digger quickly cleared the entrance and a tractor and trailer ferried away the animals followed by gardaí before unloading them onto the designated land.
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