Farm Ireland

Sunday 25 March 2018

Court awards a Tipp farmer over €304,000

Tim Healy

Tipperary farmer John Hanrahan has secured more than €304,000 in High Court damages over the failure of the Department of Agriculture to return 233 cattle seized from his farm in a welfare dispute.

Mr Hanrahan had sued the Minister for Agriculture and Food over the seizure of 355 cattle and subsequent sale of 233 of them in 2006.

Department officials seized the 355 dairy animals from the Hanrahan farm in Ballcurkeen, Carrick-on-Suir, over two days in March 2006, a move the High Court later said was justified on welfare grounds.

In April 2006, Mr Hanrahan and the Department reached an agreement that several cattle would be returned to his farm so as to bring the total number of animals up to a maximum 328 livestock units.

However, the Department later accused Mr Hanrahan of failure to comply with the agreement and said the minister intended to sell some animals – 149 animals were returned to Mr Hanrahan but 223 were sold for €55,250 on June 2, 2006.

Mr Justice Bryan McMahon found the minister had breached the April 2006 agreement in failing to deliver the 223 cattle back by selling them.

On Friday, the judge awarded the farmer €141,230 for the loss of the 233 animals.

He awarded a further €145,000 for loss of income, less €18,000 for money Mr Hanrahan had received for letting out his milk quota from 2006. Mr Hanrahan was also awarded €25,000 for stress, upset and inconvenience, while further smaller sums awarded brought the total to €304,320.

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