A TD has called on banks and the Cork County Sheriff to give the farming family at the centre of a forced cattle sale process time to save their livelihood.
Newly elected West Cork Independent TD Michael Collins made the call following the collapse of the dispersal sale of about half of the Kingston family’s prize-winning pedigree herd.
Once crowned Ireland’s fittest family on an RTÉ television show, the Kingstons watched in agony last Tuesday as their 1,000-strong herd was auctioned off amid tight security on their farm in Nohoval, Kinsale, Co Cork.
The sale was triggered after ACC Loan Management, formerly ACCBank, moved to recover €2.4m in loans from the Kingstons.
It has emerged that Peter Kingston’s father George was one of two bidders who attempted to buy back about half the herd.
George Kingston cashed in his pension to fund the purchase but the money failed to transfer by Friday’s deadline. It is understood the funds could be available by Wednesday.
However, auctioneer Denis Barrett, who is handling the sale for the sheriff, has said the animals will be resold by an online tender process. Mr Kingston was not available for comment yesterday.
Mr Collins said: “The tradition of farming on this farm goes back generations.
“Here we have a man who has cashed in his life’s saving to try and save decades of that tradition.
“I think if a father is making a gallant effort to save the farm, he should be given some respect and time to do that. I would call on everyone overseeing the process to take a step back, and to give them a chance.”
The New Land League also criticised the process.
“The sheriff’s actions are clearly designed to frustrate these genuine efforts to save the Kingston’s family livelihood and thereby inflict maximum retribution,” spokesman Jerry Beades said.
He said several haulage contractors have agreed not to transport farm animals acquired through forced sales, and they plan to contact shipping unions this week to encourage them to withdraw support for the live export of animals acquired through such sales.
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