Brothers’ dispute over slurry tanker costs State €15,000 in fees

Jeffrey McKinney and brother Brian fell out over ownership, Letterkenny court hears

A slurry tanker similar to the one at issue in the case involving the McKinney brothers.

Taxpayers have been left to pay a €15,000 "parking" fee after a dispute between two Co Donegal brothers over a slurry tanker.

Letterkenny District Civil Court heard how Jeffrey McKinney and his brother Brian had fallen out over the ownership of the tanker.

But after Jeffrey McKinney broke into the farmyard of Brian McKinney’s home and took the tanker, a theft complaint was made to gardaí.

Detectives seized the Belmac 2100 tanker and it has been in a private compound yard since, costing gardaí­€15,000 in fees.


Garda Darren Carter told the court he responded to a report of a theft from Brian McKinney's home at Knockbrack outside Letterkenny, Co Donegal on April 8th last year.

Brian McKinney was away working in Scotland, but his wife and brother-in-law reported that a padlock on a gate to the farmyard had been cut.

He said a tractor and a car parked in front of the slurry tanker had been moved and the tanker was missing. Other pieces of equipment were also reported missing, including a Honda generator and some saws.

Garda Carter said Det Tom Kilcoyne was asked to help in the investigation and the detective later stopped Jeffrey McKinney towing the slurry tanker using a New Holland tractor loaned to him by Drumkeen farmer Norman Woods.

Ownership claimed

He said Jeffrey McKinney claimed ownership of the tanker, but gardaí­ had been forced to seize it while an investigation was carried out.

He said he subsequently interviewed Brian McKinney, who said he had paid for the tanker and produced a receipt to prove it.

Jeffrey McKinney told Judge Paul Kelly during the court hearing into the case he had paid half of the original €8,000 cost of the tanker. He said he had sold cattle to do so.

He also claimed his brother Brian McKinney had told him that if he settled a €3,000 repair bill later, he could keep the slurry tanker. He also produced a handwritten letter which he claimed was signed by Brian McKinney in which the ownership was jointly agreed.

But Brian McKinney told the judge this wasn’t the case, insisting he had purchased the tanker. He said he was its rightful owner.

Letter ‘a forgery’

He claimed the handwritten letter produced in court was a forgery.

Judge Paul Kelly agreed, noting the letter produced in court was clearly a photocopy as there were no indentation marks on the paper and the punch-holes in the paper were also copied.

The judge said Jeffrey McKinney had believed it was “perfectly acceptable to take the law into his own hands” by taking the tanker in the first place.

He said Jeffrey McKinney could have gone to court to claim ownership in the first place. He said his story had “no credibility” and he ordered that the slurry tanker should be returned to Brian McKinney.

Insp Goretti Sheridan asked that the tanker be collected from the compound where it was being kept "today if possible as it's costing us a fortune".

Judge Kelly asked how much storing the tanker had cost the State.

“It has already cost us €15,000 and we want rid of it as soon as possible,” added the inspector.