Three men given suspended sentences for mid-Kerry cattle rustling incident

Three men have received suspended sentences for their roles in a cattle rustling incident in mid-Kerry.

The men appeared before Judge Tom O’Donnell at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court who noted the guilty pleas prevented the need for a lengthy and complex trial.

Barristers for the men said the stigma attached to the convictions would damage their reputations in the farming community.

The court heard the four Limousin heifers belonged to Neily O’Sullivan were taken from his field on December 12th or 13th 2013.

Local marts and farmers were canvassed and confidential information led Gardai to the farm of 56-year-old Peter Lawlor of Banna, Ardfert in May 2014 who told them he got the four heifers, which were worth around €900 each, from co-accused 38-year-old Declan Murphy of Glencuttane, Kilgobnet, Beaufort and had paid him around €1,000.

The original ear tags on the cattle had been replaced with false tags and extensive DNA testing was needed to prove their identity, the court was told the motive for the crime was financial gain.

In a victim impact statement, Mr O’Sullivan said the theft led him to put locks on all his gates and has made him anxious about the security of his livestock.

Declan Murphy pleaded guilty to the theft of the cattle saying he did it to teach his neighbour a lesson; he was given a nine-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay €332 to the Department of Agriculture to cover the costs of the DNA testing.

Peter Lawlor pleaded guilty to handling stolen property and was handed a nine-month suspended sentence.

56-year-old Eugene Cronin of Nunstown, Aghadoe, Killarney, whose truck was used to transport the cattle to Banna, admitted to withholding information from Gardai and was given a six-month suspended sentence.