TWO sheep farmers are entitled to additional compensation over the culling of their flocks as a result of the 2001 Foot and Mouth (FMD) disease outbreak, the Supreme Court ruled last week.
The amount of compensation will be decided by the High Court later in what is seen as a test case for actions by other farmers. Brendan Rafferty and John Elmore, from the Cooley peninsula in Co Louth, had appealed a High Court decision that they were not entitled to compensation beyond that already received for the market value of their sheep.
A five-judge Supreme Court unanimously overturned that decision and found they were entitled to compensation for the "total loss" suffered as a result of the culling.
An estimated 400 farmers in the Cooley had to cull their flocks as a result of the 2001 disease outbreak in Britain which spread to an area around Meigh in south Armagh. A number of those farmers also initiated proceedings but it was agreed the Rafferty and Elmore claims should be dealt with first.
Mr Rafferty lost 695 ewes and received a total of IR£145,244 compensation for the animals culled, while Mr Elmore lost 199 sheep and received total compensation of IR£29,495.
Both farmers accepted the sheep cull was necessary, but argued they did not receive proper compensation for their losses and were entitled to compensation for consequential losses, including difficulties restocking their farms.
Following the Supreme Court ruling the matter must now be returned to the High Court to assess the "total loss" amount. That total loss meant not just the market value of the individual carcasses but the consequential loss to the farmers' business due to sudden and total loss of stock.