Meat processor forced into payment policy change after legal dispute over condemned bull
A dispute over a condemned bull forced has forced one of the country's best known meat plants to revamp its lairage inspection system.
Donegal Meats now inform farmers immediately by phone in the event that any of their cattle fail the lairage inspection. The courtesy call lets farmers know that their cattle will not be insured if they are subsequently condemned during a carcase examination by vetinary inspectors. The new system was instigated after the meat plant made a full and unconditional settlement with a Mayo farmer over a condemned bull.
Kieran Gill, who farms 24 suckler cows at Crossmolina, Co Mayo had issued legal proceedings against Donegal Meats for their failure to pay him in full for two bulls that he sent to the plant on July 21, 2010.
Mr Gill received a cheque for €706 for a yearling bull a week later with insurance of €2.50 deducted. However, he wasn't paid for the second bull.
Several weeks later, after several phone calls, Mr Gill was told by the Donegal Meats procurement manager, Gabriel Lynch, that the cheque for the yearling bull had been issued incorrectly since the animal had been condemned after the vet's report found that the carcass did not set.
Mr Gill admitted that the yearling had been carrying a "slight" limp in a rear leg prior to slaughter. Mr Lynch said Donegal Meats would issue the outstanding payment of €1,349 for the second bull if Mr Gill sent the first cheque for €706 back to the plant.
When he refused to comply with this request, Donegal Meats sent him a cheque for the balance due of €643.
Mr Gill then began legal proceedings and a court hearing was set for April 4, 2011 in Letterkenny District Court.