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Army shot 'dangerous' cattle for 'health and safety reasons

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John Hoey at his Annacroft livestock farm outside Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.  Inset, marksmen from the Defence Forces were called in to shoot the cattle. Photo: Pat Byrne

John Hoey at his Annacroft livestock farm outside Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. Inset, marksmen from the Defence Forces were called in to shoot the cattle. Photo: Pat Byrne

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John Hoey at his Annacroft livestock farm outside Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan. Inset, marksmen from the Defence Forces were called in to shoot the cattle. Photo: Pat Byrne

Cattle shot by the Defence forces on a Monaghan farm were killed for 'health and safety' reasons, the High Court was told last week.

Bankruptcy trustee Chris Lehane said five cattle were shot in 2016 on the Carrickmacross farm of John Hoey, who had been declared bankrupt some months earlier.

Mr Lehane, being cross-examined as part of an application to extend Mr Hoey's bankruptcy by up to 10 years, said there were also security issues involved with the shooting of the animals.

He said cattle from the farm, which became part of the estate in the bankruptcy, had been found wandering on public roads. Another 15 cattle had been stolen from the farm. In the interests of public safety and to prevent the spread of TB, which had been detected following tests of the herd, a decision was reluctantly taken that the five animals should be culled, Mr Lehane said.

Mr Hoey, who opposes the extension of his bankruptcy, claimed that he remains "haunted" after witnessing the shooting of his cattle in July 2016.

Mr Lehane said the cattle were killed as a last resort. Over a period of time he and his agents had tried to remove the animals from the farm.

Most had been taken off but some could not be removed as the fields they were in were described as "wild and dangerous".

Mr Lehane said gates which had been locked with chains were repeatedly opened and the chains cut. This allowed the cattle out on the roads and presented a danger to the community.

Mr Lehane said he discussed the matter with Mr Hoey in the days before the animals were shot. He said Mr Hoey told him the cattle would never be caught.

Mr Lehane said the culling was done after extensive discussions with the Department of Agriculture, the gardaí and Defence Forces.

He told the court there was a lot of misinformation in relation to the shooting of the animals.

In response to what was being posted on social media he had issued a statement clarifying matters.

Mr Hoey was declared bankrupt in February 2016 on foot of a petition brought by John Kelly Fuels Ltd for €262,000. He was due to exit the process 12 months later.

Mr Lehane claims Mr Hoey has failed to co-operate with the process, and has asked the High Court to extend his bankruptcy.

Mr Hoey strongly denies that he has not cooperated and says he furnished Mr Lehane with a statement of affairs.

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