Vet fined €15,000 and ordered to pay costs

Accused also admitted failing to keep proper records of purchase and sale of medicines


A veterinary surgeon has been fined €15,000 and ordered to pay almost €3,000 in costs after he admitted possessing unauthorised animal remedies at a horse trainer’s yard in Co Cork.

Paul Callaghan (32) of Drybridge, Glounthaune, Co Cork pleaded guilty at Bandon District Court to four offences relating to the possession of the illegal medicines and two offences of failing to keep proper records on July 8th, 2014.

Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector Louis Rearden said he found four unauthorised animal remedies in Mr Callaghan’s car when waiting to talk to him about labelling on antibiotics on a visit to the yard of horse trainer John Joe Murphy at Highfort, Upton, Co Cork.

Mr Rearden said he found methocarbamol, Anased, magnesium sulphate and ammonium sulphate in the car. When confronted, the defendant became concerned and said he had to leave, the witness added.

Mr Rearden later called to the Tower Veterinary Practice in Glanmire where the defendant admitted possessing the medicines and failing to keep proper records of his purchases and sales.

Cross-examined by defence barrister, Tim Harley BL, Mr Rearden said ammonium sulphate could be used as a pain killer.

Doping circles

In the US, magnesium sulphate was used as a performance inhibitor and was referred to in doping circles as Vitamin M, while Anased was a common black market drug, he said.

Mr Harley said his client had worked as a vet in both Australia and the US for four years before returning to work in Ireland in January 2014, and he had obtained the medicines from a friend who had returned from Australia.

Mr Callaghan was deeply regretful over the offences said Mr Harley.

Judge James McNulty noted Mr Callaghan had pleaded guilty and had no previous convictions .

He fined him €3,000 on each of the possession charges and a further €3,000 on failing to keep a record of purchases, while he took the last charge of failing to keep a record of sales into account.

He also ordered him to pay €2,500 towards the State’s legal costs and €400 in witness expenses.