'Ireland's Fittest Family' farmer weeps as 1,000-cattle herd auctioned to pay €2.4m bank debt
Peter Kingston wept as he admitted his family never imagined an internationally renowned dairy operation bought 44 years ago with honey profits would end so bitterly.
The father of four broke down as he surveyed his 175-acre Cork farm and the auction of his award-winning 1,000-plus cattle herd on foot of a €2.4m debt to ACC Bank.
The farmer (51) had to stop media interviews when he was overcome by emotion after admitting his greatest concern was the impact the cattle sale, directed by the Cork Sheriff, might have on his father George (77).
"It is very hard. To see your life being burned in front of you... I may be bad today, but if you go to the shed over there, I wouldn't want to see my father," he said.
"Farming wasn't just his life - it was his therapy. But the phoenix rose from the ashes and I will too."
About 50 protesters failed to halt the day-long bank-sought cattle auction. They demonstrated on the roadway outside Craden Hill farm and took photographs of cars entering the auction.
Several foreign cattle buyers were verbally challenged over their attendance. However, there were no incidents and the auction proceeded amid a heavy private security presence with gardaí also in attendance.