Saturday 21 October 2017

Farmer told inspector 'I'll get you', court hears

Ciaran Murphy

A well-known farmer who is accused of injuring a Department of Agriculture vet by allegedly driving a loader into a gate and "catapulting him into the air" told the man he would get him, the High Court heard.

John Hanrahan took on pharmaceutical giant Merck Sharp & Dohme 25 years ago in a famous case where he won £800,000 compensation after he maintained that emissions from the plant had poisoned his cattle.

Yesterday Eamon Quirke (52), a Clonmel-based departmental veterinary inspector, fought back tears after he recalled an incident which he thought had left him paralysed.

Mr Hanrahan (64), of Ballycurkeen in Carrick-on-Suir, has been cleared in criminal proceedings of assaulting the vet, causing him harm.

The incident happened on May 22, 2007, on the farmer's land when Mr Quirke arrived with colleagues to remove dead animal carcasses from a trailer on the man's property.

Garda Brian Leamy, who was present on the day in question, said that "he went down heavy on his head after being catapulted up into the sky".

The garda heard Mr Hanrahan say, "I'll get you, Quirke". He added: "He was hysterical and angry as well."

Mr Quirke, who has inherited a farm but has not been able to farm it, has taken civil proceedings against the farmer for "the impairment of his career prospects", said Jeremy Maher SC, yesterday.

However, counsel for Mr Hanrahan, Michael Counihan SC, yesterday said that there may have been a problem with the brakes on his client's Volvo.

The vet said that he became traumatised and "went down into a black hole" following the incident. "I'm not in a good place," he said. He admitted that he had "broken down in tears in front of a client".

Medical evidence will be heard today.

Irish Independent

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