'It’s devastating': Farmer in heart-breaking retelling of the electrocution of cattle during storm Ophelia
Kildare farmer Ann Elliot has spoken of her devastation after four of her cattle were electrocuted by fallen cables during Storm Ophelia.
She told listeners to RTE’s Liveline that the cables down on the ground when she arrived on the scene with ESB workers. She said it was "carnage" when she went into the field with ESB workers on Monday and found the four in-calf heifers, after her neighbour alerted her to the disaster on her farm.
“The cables were everywhere in the field. There were four cables on the poles, and all four were on the land.
Elliot also told how she managed to save a further 26 animals from electrocution and said it's a big financial loss as she has a small farm. "I was up in the dark and did everything I could do in the morning to secure everything I could.
When she got to the field, after meeting ESB workers on the road, they moved the other cattle to another field.
“We got out which I suppose was dangerous because the ESB workers were shouting at us to treat the cables as live.
“We hunted the rest of them through the gate and on down through to another field and locked them there so they couldn’t come back up.
“The ESB workers were brilliant they were there when we left.
“I would like to thank the ESB for being so kind and brilliant to us that evening.
"I was devastated. I reared them (the cattle) from calves. I had three Friesian incalf heifers and I had an Angus incalf heifer.
“I reared them. I knew them. I knew their mothers down the years.
“It’s devastating. It’s not the loss. It’s the lovely animals gone. I can’t do anything about that. We may just carry on.
Elliot said I never dreamed something like this could happen and nothing like it had happened on the farm before.
“I knew about the danger of trees falling, but I never dreamed about the overhead cables falling.
“But I learned a lesson.
“Maybe the Department of Agriculture should have put more emphasis on the dangers of the cables,” she said. She also said that farmers should have received more advice about minding cattle in the event of a storm. "I thought I had everything covered."
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