Clare Cattle rustler gets suspended jail term
Judge says sentence more lenient due to punishment of being shunned by community
Five of the stolen 15 cattle remained unaccounted for in the food chain after a 10-month Garda investigation. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
A judge yesterday gave a suspended sentence to a shunned cattle rustler who stole cattle from an elderly farmer in east Clare.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys imposed a suspended three-year jail term on Padraig O’Brien (42) for stealing 15 cattle from his neighbour John Ford (74) over a two-year period from May 2013 to January 2015.
Judge Keys also fined Mr O’Brien of Maghereigh, Mountshannon, Co Clare €3,000.
Five of the stolen 15 cattle remained unaccounted for in the food chain after a 10-month Garda investigation which traced the remaining animals with DNA technology.
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 Clare because of his crime.
Judge Keys told the court part of the reason he was suspending the jail term was the price already being paid by Mr O’Brien in being shunned by others in his local community because of the nature of his criminal conduct.
The judge said he was also suspending the prison term because of Mr O’Brien having no previous convictions and his medical condition at the time.
The judge added that because of Mr O’Brien’s actions “some farmers who owe you money for work you have done have refused to pay you because of your criminal conduct. This I cannot condone”.