Tuesday 16 July 2019

Mallow vet struck off over faulty cattle certificates

Tim Healy

A Mallow-based vet found guilty of professional misconduct over allowing his official stamp be used to certify some cattle as fit for export to Morocco, when they were not, has had his registration cancelled by the High Court.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, made the order against Cornelius Linehan (60), of Old Cork Road, Mallow. It followed an inquiry by a Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) fitness to practice committee into a number of allegations against Mr Linehan.

The Department of Agriculture applied for that inquiry arising from complaints by the Moroccan authorities in August 2011 over beef cattle exports by Murphy Hunter International Livestock Ltd (MHIL).

The Moroccan authorities said that, of a batch of animals imported from Ireland on June 30, 2011, on foot of Private Veterinary Practitioner (PVP) certificates, 12 cases involved infectious bovine rhinotrachetis, 20 animals to date had died and another four were slaughtered.

Haulier David Hunter, of Murphy Hunter International Livestock Ltd (MHIL), was later found guilty of making a gain by deception and was fined €100,000 and given a four-and-a-half year suspended sentence.

A two-and-a-half year sentence imposed on office worker Joan Stafford was suspended on her completing 24 hours community service.

During the subsequent inquiry by the Veterinary Council of Ireland, Mr Linehan admitted he provided Ms Stafford, on one or more unidentified dates, with the practice stamp for Awbeg Veterinary Clinic.

While denying he did so for the purpose of her completing one or more PVP certificates signed by him, that charge was found proven and to amount to professional misconduct.