A farmer from North Co. Galway has appeared in Galway District Court recently and received a €1 fine in a planning case taken against him by Galway County Council, as reported in the Connacht Tribune.
The Council took the case to the courts over an unauthorised sheep pen, which the farmer used to load the animals, as well as for animal husbandry practices. The prosecution of Thomas Collins, who farms in Bullaun, Cummer near Corofin in Galway county, was described as lunacy by Judge John King.
The courts heard that the 64-year-old farmer had installed a number of gates and pillars on his farmland, which he then used to gather or load his flock and for practices such as shearing and dipping. Galway County Council told the courts that a structure such as the one installed by Mr. Collins required planning permission, comparing it to a cattle crush. They told the courts that no planning permission was ever sought by the farmer.
George Bruen, Solicitor for Mr. Collins, said the structure in question was simply a series of gates. He told the courts that the structure did not even have a concrete base and was only used on occasion and to pen sheep.
Mr. Collins then told the courts that the ‘structure’ was folded away when not in use, so as not to cause obstruction.
“With the way farming and sheep are going at the moment, I mightn’t be using it for too long more.” The farmer commented.
“I don’t use it that often. I flock them in a few times a year for loading or if the sheep have maggots,” he continued.
Judge King described the case as lunacy but said due to the Council’s persistence that it was an unauthorised development, he had no choice but to convict the farmer. The farmer was subsequently handed a fine of €1.