Humphreys ‘did not interfere’ in dropped animal cruelty case

Minister gave constituent’s correspondence to Department of Agriculture, says spokeswoman

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys.  File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Minister for Business Heather Humphreys “did not interfere” in a case of alleged animal cruelty that was later dropped, her spokeswoman has said.

Ms Humphreys handed in a letter to the Department of Agriculture in relation to the case, which was pending before the courts, the spokeswoman confirmed.

The case involved a farmer who has previously been before the courts for animal cruelty offences, including a case some years ago where the judge described the evidence as “stomach churning” and “shocking”.

“A constituent provided correspondence to Minister Humphreys outlining their concerns in relation to this case and requested that she bring it to the attention of the Department of Agriculture on their behalf,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Minister did as requested in her role as a public representative. She did not give any view on, or make any representations in support of, the correspondence.”

Brian Wright (68), of Kilgorman, Newbliss, Co Monaghan, was due in Monaghan District Court earlier this month to face charges under the animal health and welfare laws.

However, the charges were withdrawn on the date the case was due to go ahead. “The Minister did not interfere in the case,” Ms Humphreys’s spokeswoman said. “She simply passed the correspondence she received to the appropriate department for their information.”

Ms Humphreys spokeswoman said the correspondence set out a number of concerns about the case.

“The Minister was not in a position, nor was it her role, to investigate these concerns. She therefore took the appropriate course of action and ensured that the correspondence and claims therein were brought to the attention of the relevant department.”

Wright was before Clones District Court in 2008 when Judge Sean McBride described the evidence presented as “shocking” and stomach-churning”.

The case involved six counts of animal cruelty and one count of permitting carcasses to remain unburied on Wright’s 250-acre farm. The farmer was eventually fined € 3,500 for cruelty to cattle.

In 2017, Wright was fined €11,950 for another case of animal cruelty, again involving his treatment of the livestock on his farm, which straddles the Border.

Efforts to contact him on Sunday were unsuccessful.