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Friday 14 December 2018

'Lunacy' - Farmer fined just €1 after Council took planning case against him over sheep pen

Stock photo
Stock photo

Declan Tierney

The prosecution of a North Galway farmer, accused of having an unauthorised pen which he uses for loading sheep, has been described by a District Court Judge as “lunacy”.

“It is like using a cannon to swat a fly,” remarked Judge John King after he heard a prosecution brought by Galway County Council against 64-year-old single farmer Thomas Collins from Bullaun, Cummer, Corofin.

The court was told how the farmer had erected a number of pillars and gates on his land which he used to gather his sheep either for loading onto trucks, shearing or dipping.

Galway County Council had contended that it was similar to a cattle crush and that it was a structure that required planning permission – but permission had not been sought for the pen.

Mr Collins and his solicitor George Bruen had argued that it was merely a series of gates that were used to pen sheep. It does not have a concrete base and is used on a handful of occasions.

The defendant told the court that when it was not in use, the gates would fold away so that they would not cause an obstruction.

“With the way farming and sheep are going at the moment, I mightn’t be using it for too long more. I don’t use it that often. I flock them in a few times a year for loading or if the sheep have maggots,” he explained.

However, Judge King said that he would have to convict as the Council were adamant that it was an unauthorised development that did not have planning.

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