High Court to rule on application to suspend well-known equestrian vet

Veterinary Council of Ireland sought two-month suspension of Timothy Brennan

Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Photograph: Nick Bradshaw


The president of the High Court will rule next week on an application for a two-month suspension of well-known equestrian vet Timothy Brennan from the register of vets here.

The Veterinary Council of Ireland has sought the suspension arising from findings of professional misconduct against Mr Brennan, a vet for the stables of champion trainer Willie Mullins.

On Monday, JP McDowell, of Fieldfisher solicitors, for the council, said its application arose from an inspection by Department of Agriculture officials at a horse trainer’s yard on February 9th, 2015.

The officials identified bottles with deficient labelling and lacking serial numbers, he said.

When Mr Brennan’s vehicle was inspected, five bottles of unauthorised animal remedies were found and seized, he said. The inspectors later attended at Mr Brennan’s practice to inspect records to find the source of the products seized and Mr Brennan admitted in an interview he did not have records.

Mr Brennan, of GSC Veterinary, Gowran Castle Stud, Gowran, Co Kilkenny, pleaded guilty in 2018 at Kilkenny District Court to three charges of having unauthorised animal medications and one of failing to keep records in respect of a named animal remedy.

A Fitness to Practise committee of the council held an inquiry in October 2018 at which Mr Brennan made a number of admissions of fact in relation to all four allegations against him of breaches of certain of the European Communities (Animal Remedies) Regulations 2007.

The committee, in a report last March, found as proven the first allegation, that Mr Brennan, in relation to a prescription issued on January 21st, 2014, and another on October 5th, 2015, failed to provide an adequate description of the animal or animals on those prescriptions.

The second allegation was he had in his possession on February 9th, 2015 unauthorised animal remedies. The third alleged, on four different dates in January and February 2015, he failed to include the serial number on the label affixed to certain animal remedies.

The committee found as proven those two allegations, plus the fourth allegation, that Mr Brennan had failed, on April 20th, 2015, to keep at his premises records in respect of transactions concerning a number of animal remedies.

The committee found the second, third and fourth allegations, taken individually, amounted to professional misconduct.

Last month, the council considered the committee’s report and found the professional misconduct was at the higher end of the spectrum of misconduct. It agreed with the committee Mr Brennan’s possession of a number of unauthorised substances was an extremely serious matter, compounded by his not retaining notes or records in relation to them.

Having also considered mitigating factors, the council decided the proportionate, fair and appropriate sanction was that Mr Brennan’s registration not have effect for two months.

There was no appeal against that decision and the council applied on Monday to the court to confirm it.

In response to the judge, Mr McDowell agreed the fact of tragic circumstances in Mr Brennan’s life at the relevant time was not a causation factor linked to the wrongdoing and thus could not be considered in mitigation.

Conor Halpin SC, for Mr Brennan, said there was significant evidence before the council his client had suffered public opprobrium arising from the matter and there was some media misreporting of what the case was about, which misreporting had been addressed in other fora. It was clear the council viewed the matter as serious and it had run the scale of suspension in line with that view.

Counsel added, if the court decided to confirm the suspension, he would be seeking a stay with a view to the suspension not coming into effect before December 18th next.

The judge said she will deal with all such applications after she gives her ruling next week.