Farmer who stole his neighbour's cattle fined €3,000 but avoids jail
A cattle rustler who stole from his elderly neighbour walked free from court as he was handed a three-year suspended sentence.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys fined Padraig O'Brien (42), of Maghereigh, Mountshannon, Co Clare, €3,000 for stealing 15 cattle off John Ford (74) over a two-year period from May 2013 to January 2015.
Today, five of the stolen 15 cattle remained unaccounted for in the food chain after a gruelling 10-month Garda investigation that criss-crossed the country.
The probe saw 10 of the cattle identified through DNA technology and detective work.
Judge Keys said the nature of the theft in a country which relies so much on agriculture and its beef trade with its high standards of traceability "makes this crime all the more serious".
Judge Keys said that as a beef farmer, Mr O'Brien should have known the consequences of his actions.
A married father of one, Mr O'Brien is being shunned by former friends and acquaintances and not welcome at community events in the rural community around his homeplace of Mountshannon in east Co Clare because of his crime.
"What you have done to your neighbour is in the eyes of most farmers probably unforgivable," Judge Keys said.
He added: "I am conscious that you have been shunned in society and that will continue for some time. It is a matter for you to prove to them that you have full remorse and never, ever dream of reoffending in this manner."