A KNOCKMORE farmer had to give up his ‘vocation’ for farming because he could not comply with farming regulations, last week’s sitting of Ballina District Court heard.
Bachelor farmer Patrick O’Hora (71) of Corroy, Knockmore, appeared before the court on charges of failing to get his cattle tested for brucellosis and TB for the 2009/10 period. Mr O’Hora who suffers from a bad back was unable to get his cattle tested due to the poor condition of his farm and has since sold all his herd.
While Judge Patrick Durcan stressed that failing to comply with the regulations was a serious offence due to the importance of agriculture to the country’s economic, he noted Mr O’Hora’s circumstances and decided not to record a conviction against him.
Judge Durcn said that farming in the west of Ireland was not a career but a vocation to people like Mr O’Hora, and that Mr O’Hora had already imposed the harshest penalty on himself by giving up his vocation.
An Inspector from the District Veterinary Officer explained to the court that Mr O’Hora had failed in his requirement to have his herd tested for brucellosis and TB in 2009 and 2010. He had been notified on a number of times but had failed to act on his requirements.
Herd was clear
In a statement to gardaí, Mr O’Hora said he was not able to test his cattle because of his bad back and due to the fact his pen was broken and he was waiting for tags for calves. The court heard he had no previous convictions of any kind, and that he had no previous history of non-compliance with farming regulations.
The inspector added that the herd were tested and they all passed the test.
When the court was told Mr O’Hora had retired from farming, Judge Durcan commented ‘that is what the EU does to farmers’, adding that older farmers were not able to comply with the regulations.
Mr John Gordon, solicitor for Mr O’Hora said his client had spent a lifetime farming. The inspector said his farm was ‘extremely basic’. He said his cattle were wild and it took the department two days to test them and Mr Gordon said this was ‘just too much’ for his client.
Judge Durcan said he wanted to get the message out that there were serious implications for farmers who are non-compliant with regulations, but he said would not impose convictions against Mr O’Hora, given the particular circumstances.