Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 21 October 2018

'We live in fear' - farmer left with smashed bones and broken arm after attack by crime gang

Victim: Farmer Patrick Walsh, who was attacked and knocked unconscious at his farm at Lispopple last week. Photo: Frank McGrath
Victim: Farmer Patrick Walsh, who was attacked and knocked unconscious at his farm at Lispopple last week. Photo: Frank McGrath
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

A farmer who was badly injured when thugs rammed a gate with their truck while he was trying to shut it is living in fear that his attackers will return.

Brendan O'Donoghue (56), a father of two young girls, was left with two smashed bones in a leg and a broken arm as he was hurled by the gate against his four-wheel drive vehicle and knocked to the ground.

The nightmare attack still lives in his memory even though it took place more than a year ago.

Nobody has been prosecuted in connection with the ramming because of insufficient evidence, although the truck was seized by gardaí two days after he was assaulted.

Mr O'Donoghue lives with his wife and girls, aged eight and nine, at St Margaret's in north Co Dublin.

He rents land from the Dublin Aviation Authority (DAA) at the end of one of the runways at Dublin Airport.

At around 7.30pm on August 17 last year, he was driving out to check his cattle when he spotted a truck carrying a load of settees and mattresses travelling in the opposite direction.

Dumping of rubbish on local land has been a major problem for the farmers and at the next roundabout he turned and followed the truck.

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Mr O'Donoghue eventually discovered the truck had turned into a field rented from the DAA by a neighbouring farmer.

He saw two men in the truck at the top of the field and decided to shut the gate before alerting the authorities, but had difficulty closing it.

"The gate was bent and I couldn't pull the bolt across. The truck came down the field at 100mph and drove through the gate," he said.

"I fell back against my jeep at great force and dropped to the ground. The gate ended up in the middle of the roadway.

"It reminded me of the terrorist attack in Nice when a truck was driven into a crowd of people and they were thrown to the ground," Mr O'Donoghue recalled.

He said he lay there for 10 minutes before two DHL vans arrived on the scene and the drivers alerted the emergency services and his wife.

Mr O'Donoghue was taken by ambulance to St James's Hospital where he spent eight days recovering from breaks to his arm and his tibia and fibula.

He gave a description of the truck to gardaí, who examined CCTV footage from the area.

As a result of further inquiries, gardaí tracked the truck to a halting site in a neighbouring county and seized it. The vehicle had not been taxed or insured for the previous five years, he said.

He was with his family at Mass in the local church on Christmas morning when he spotted the two thugs involved in the attack.

They did not see him but the incident reminded him that they were still in the area and he could easily encounter them again.

"I am very concerned for the safety of my family if they decide to come back and we live in fear," he added.

Mr O'Donoghue said if the authorities had taken action to stop the illegal dumping in his area, life for him and his neighbours would not be as difficult. He felt that farming in a predominantly urban area brought its own social problems.

Last week, the Irish Independent highlighted the vicious attack on farmer Patrick Walsh (47), a father of three, from Lispopple, Swords, north Co Dublin.

He was kicked unconscious after he confronted trespassers on his land. The four men were using lurcher dogs as a cover while carrying out surveillance for a crime spree.

Irish Independent