The farmer shot a neighbour’s heifer, which had escaped on to his property, and dumped it on the owner’s land, behaviour described at Mullingar District Court as not appropriate for someone holding a firearms licence.
Padraig McManus of Drinmore House, Rathconnell, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, was challenging Supt McMenamin’s decision to revoke three firearms licences.
Judge Seamus Hughes was satisfied to reinstate a shotgun licence for shooting vermin, but did not think Mr McManus was fit to hold two hunting rifles, describing his actions as “totally lacking in humanity”.
That Mr McManus would drive the prongs of a loader right through the heifer and dump it in his neighbour’s driveway indicated he was not telling the truth about how and why he had shot the animal.
The recently purchased heifer had escaped from the neighbour’s farm on August 16 last year and broke into Mr McManus’s field, where it attacked in-calf heifers.
Mr McManus said the heifer chased his animals into his yard but returned to the field and attacked the 4x4 carrying him and his 79-year-old father. The beast’s head was flailing inside the 4x4 and he thought he would pass out from the pain of the injuries she caused him, he said.
He said he feared for his life, stretched into the back of the 4x4 for the rifle which he then held across his body and discharged twice from inside the 4x4.
He said he had done his best to return the carcass as his neighbour requested but the gates were closed and his badly bruised arm affected him operating the loader’s controls properly.
Insp Dermot Drea said it was impossible that Mr McManus shot the animal while its head was inside the 4x4. His behaviour was irrational and outside what was acceptable for someone with a firearms licence, he said and questioned why Mr McManus’s father wouldn’t make a statement or appear in court to corroborate his evidence.
Solicitor Ray Mahon said his client had been in an extreme situation and had reacted in a split second as best he could.
Judge Hughes said Mr McManus’s behaviour after the incident indicated bad blood between Mr McManus and his neighbour.
A farmer might need to kill a wild heifer to protect his own assets but not as Mr McManus indicated.
He believed Mr McManus had followed the beast into the field and shot it as it was impossible for him to turn in the 4x4 and fire the weapon as he described.