Saturday 17 March 2018

Michael Healy-Rae condemns shooting of cattle by army marksmen as 'disgraceful, despicable act'

Michael Healy-Rae. Photo: Tom Burke
Michael Healy-Rae. Photo: Tom Burke

Meadhbh McGrath

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae has condemned the shooting of cattle by army marksmen as a “disgraceful, despicable act”.

Speaking in the Dáil today, the Kerry TD said: “I think it’s absolutely an outrageous act for our army to be used to shoot five cattle.”

“The people that were involved who ordered the people to pull the trigger – they’re a disgrace, not the people who shot the gun but the people who gave the order. Shame on them, absolute shame on them.”

He added: “It’s outrageous, it shouldn’t be tolerated.”

Education Minister Richard Bruton responded by saying that the shooting was the “last resort for reasons of public safety” in a containment strategy, as the cows were believed to have TB.

On Tuesday, shocking images emerged from a Co Monaghan farm showing five heifers lying dead on the grass with blood seeping from their gunshot wounds.

The cattle, previously owned by farmer John Hoey from Carrickmacross, were shot dead by members of the Defence Forces after unsuccessful attempts by bankruptcy officials to seize the animals.

Mr Hoey told the Irish Independent that the incident has “destroyed” him.

“My head is busted. My son hasn’t said a word since,” he said.

Chris Lehane, the official bankruptcy assignee, said all other possibilities were “exhausted” before Defence Forces were called in to assist with the cull.

“I have a duty to recover value from assets of bankruptcy estates and it is clearly not in my interests to kill cattle, nor would I do it, without firstly having exhausted every other possible avenue open to me to resolve the problem,” he said.

Mr Lehane also noted that extensive TB testing had been carried out on the farm with the Department of Agriculture.

“The results of those tests proved positive in the herd, greatly restricting what I could do with the animals,” he said.

However, Mr Hoey told the Irish Independent that he was not informed that the cattle had TB.

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