Farmer pleads guilty to breaches

A farmer has pleaded guilty to 14 sample counts, mainly in relation to bovine tagging and identification, animal movement, and animal health and welfare.

Farmer pleads guilty to breaches

Rarely had Department of Agriculture Inspectors come across breaches on such a scale, Killarney District Court heard.

John C Casey, otherwise known as Christy Casey, aged 57, of Crosstown, Killarney, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty to the charges, mainly at Ryefield, Whitechurch, Co Cork, and within the State.

His suckler herd was registered in Cork and he also had leased land, the court was told.

Louis Reardon, veterinary inspector, said the department would regularly come across incidents relating to small numbers of breaches of regulations on animal movement and registration, but “not on the scale of Mr Casey”.

Fifty summonses had been issued by the prosecutor and agriculture minister, and 14 sample counts pleaded to, said the prosecution.

The dates were mainly on August 14 and September 15, 2014.

Mr Reardon said he had failed to produce animal passports, and, when asked where the cattle were, “he would not say”. Only some of the cattle had ever been located and “we don’t know what happened these animals”, Mr Reardon told the judge, regarding 69 animals.

Padraig O’Connell, for Mr Casey, said his client had grown up on a farm in Blackwater and “cattle are his life”.

“Unfortunately he came to a misconceived idea that the department were not co-operating with him… He apologises unreservedly for his lack of engagement.”

Judge James O’Connor told the solicitor his client was “in serious trouble” and would probably be jailed.

The man’s son, John Casey Jr, also of Crosstown, had been issued with summonses for similar alleged breaches. An application by the State was made to adjourn this at the outset.

Judge O’Connor asked Mr Reardon to ascertain further details about the father and son farm ownership and herd numbers.

The matter was adjourned until March 21.

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