Carcasses thrown off cliff, court told

A 62-year-old West Clare farmer yesterday appeared in court in connection with the alleged dumping of 17 decomposing carcasses at a 90m-high cliff last year.

Martin Gerald Foley, of Lislanihan, Kilkee, appeared at Kilrush District Court, after being charged last Friday in connection with the discovery of the rotting animals at the base of cliffs at Baltard, Doonbeg, in April of last year.

Mr Foley is charged with disposing of waste in a manner that is likely to cause environmental pollution on dates unknown between April 20, 2013, and March 13t, 2014, contrary to Section 32 of the Waste Management Act.

Giving evidence of arrest, charge and caution, Det Garda Ollie Downes said that, in response to caution, Mr Foley replied: “I have nothing to say at this stage.”

Mr Foley was not represented in court yesterday and, when asked by Judge Patrick Durcan if he had a solicitor, he replied: “Not yet judge, I am working on it.”

Insp John Ryan told the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed that the case be heard in the circuit court.

Judge Durcan yesterday adjourned the case to allow the State to draw up a book of evidence. The DPP made the direction after a two-volume file was sent by west Clare gardaí to the DPP in December after a long investigation into the case.

In April of last year, Clare’s ISPCA warden, Frankie Coote carried out the examination of the decomposing bodies of 10 horses, four cattle, and three calves at the cliffs near Doonbeg on the Clare coast.

The investigation included DNA tests on the animals to determine ownership, along with the work of an oceanographer to determine if the carcasses had been washed ashore.

The carcasses had to be cremated at the scene as it was not possible to remove them.

In response to the discovery of the carcasses, four agencies launched investigations: The gardaí, the ISPCA, the Department of Agriculture, and Clare Co Council.

Up to 15 of the bloated bodies were located close together at the bottom of the isolated cliffs.

The decomposing remains were discovered by a walker negotiating the rocky shore. The walker reported the discovery to Kilrush gardaí, who attended the scene soon after.

In court yesterday, Judge Durcan remanded Mr Foley on bail to appear before the court on September 8.


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