Warning: Graphic content - Department photos of animals show level of neglect on farm

Gordon Deegan

Photos released today by the Dept of Agriculture show the level of neglect endured by the animals on land-holdings controlled by farmer, Martin Gerald Foley.

The photos were shown during a presentation by Det Garda Donal Corkery at Ennis Circuit Court on Tuesday that outlined the scale of neglect by Mr Foley over a two year period of his animals.

In the case, bachelor farmer, Mr Foley (66) of Lislanihan, Kilkee has pleaded guilty to 20 sample charges out of a total of 193 charges first brought against him.

The animal welfare charges relate to cattle and horses at locations in west Clare at Lisdeen, Lislanihan, Donoghboy, Dough and Baltard on dates between March 2014 and April 2016.

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In a separate offence in April 2014, Mr Foley has also pleaded to dumping 12 animal carcasses, the remains of four cattle and eight horses over Cliffs at Baltard, Doonbeg in west Clare.

On the neglect at the Foley holdings, Supt Veterinary Inspector for the Clare-Limerick area for the Dept of Agriculture, Dr Lorna Meaney told the court: “The overall scale and severity of this is unprecedented.”

Dr Meaney stated that some of the bovine animals in Lisdeen in March 2016 “were in pretty appalling condition” and that Mr Foley’s failure to provide basic levels of water and feed for the animals and his poor husbandry meant that he is in no position to look after any animals.


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Dr Meaney said that it was most disturbing that concerning the Dept’s most recent inspection of the lands in late May 2019 that of four young horses seen only one had access to water and they were being fed very poor quality food made up of rushes and rotten material.

Dr Meaney said that this resulted in the Dept issuing Mr Foley was an Animal and Welfare Notice.

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In the photos provided by the Dept of Agriculture,  Det Donal Corkery said that one photo of two horse carcasses in March 2016 on Foley lands show that they had "had died in severe pain”.

He said that the two had been ‘paddling’ their legs but were unable to get up from where they died in excruciating pain.

He said that the large dung heaps beside each horse show that they had lain there for a long period of time.

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Det Corkery described another photo of a slatted house where the cattle would have to wade through slurry which would result in chemical burns on their legs and have them in excruciating pain. 

Another photo was taken of an emaciated cow who was unable to get up from she lay and again the dung heap beside her show that she had remained there for a long period of time.

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Det Corkery said that in 2014, Mr Foley had 100 cattle and 50 horses and up until May 2015, a total of 40 animals were unaccounted for.

Dr Meaney said that 11 horses had to be delivered to the knackery between February and April 2016 which would be unprecedented.

Dr Meaney said  that Mr Foley had only acquired a herd number to allow him own cattle in April 2013 and the first complaint concerning the welfare of the animals was received in March 2014.

Mr Foley no longer holds cattle on his lands having disposed of them last year.

He currently has 100 horses on his lands and Judge Gerald Keys has remanded Mr Foley on continuing bail to allow him dispose of the horses and adjourned the case to October 29th.

Mr Foley’s barrister, Patrick Whyms BL told the court that Mr Foley’s farm enterprise got very large, very fast.

He said: “Mr Foley got overloaded and overwhelmed and these issues arose and there is no getting away from that.


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