Country music star denies cruelty to animals in row over his puppy farm
A COUNTRY music star whose tour has been cancelled over his ownership of a puppy farm has finally broken his silence by vowing to continue his singing career and denying he is cruel to animals.
Award-winning singer Eamonn Jackson, whose real name is Eamonn Mulvaney, had to cancel several gigs after dog lovers protested about his ownership of a puppy farm in Cavan.
A string of venues across Ireland and the U.K. dropped him from their bill over fears of protests at his gigs.
Jackson (40), has a puppy farm in Redhills which was inspected by the ISPCA earlier this year and found to have 400 dogs more than permitted by his breeder’s licence, as well as a number of other issues, including dogs not having enough space.
Two weeks ago he had to cancel a six-date U.K. tour following protests and this week Irish venues cancelled their bookings with Jackson after a Facebook campaign by dog lovers.
The Sunday World visited the puppy farm in Redhills this week. Puppies could be heard barking and whimpering in a nearby building and a girl who worked there closed the door after we arrived.
Soon after, Eamonn’s father arrived and defended his son, saying the campaign against him was ruining his career.
“It’s an awful thing altogether. It’s a terrible thing to do to a man’s character. His career was going great,” he said.
Jackson wasn’t there when we called, but he later contacted us to categorically deny he had “ever been cruel to animals”.
“I pride myself on the high standards I have always maintained. I have had no convictions against me for the manner in which I conduct my business and I am fully licensed.
“Certain people have harassed me and contacted musical venues where I was due to perform, resulting in my cancellation by the proprietors for fear of protests outside the venues. My reputation has been damaged by these people.”
He said he has made a complaint to Gardaí about allegations being made against him.
Despite the cancellation of a succession of gigs, he said he will continue his music career.
“I hope to reassure all music venues that I am due to perform in that I am available to honour my commitment to them and that I am determined to clear my good name and reputation.
“I hope that the bad publicity I have received will be finally clarified for what it was, which is the action of certain vexatious people intent on my destruction within the entertainment business and totally baseless as to fact.”
The same day we visited his farm someone set up a Facebook group called Stand Up For Eamonn Jackson. They immediately had to start deleting negative comments from people unhappy with the singer.
At least two Irish venues cancelled Jackson’s gigs this week after six venues in the U.K. cancelled his concerts the previous week. The Ardboyne Hotel in Meath have replaced Jackson with Eamonn McCann, in a gig due to take place tomorrow.
Last Tuesday, The Bushtown Hotel in Coleraine, Co. Derry, announced that his gig scheduled for that night had been cancelled “due to circumstances beyond our control”.
He was set for a U.K. tour in October in venues in Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Inverness, Glenrothes and Bathgate.
Some of the gigs had already sold out, but Jackson was forced to cancel the tour after members of Pet Abuse UK inundated venue owners with complaints.
Irish group Pups Not Profit contacted venues here to complain against Jackson. The group rejects claims that they have done anything illegal “People who are outraged by this ‘industrial puppy farming’ of hundreds of dogs then contacted venues here and asked them to cancel Mr Jackson. This was done through a peaceful online protest in response to his position as Cavan’s second largest puppy farmer.
“Mr Mulvaney was not threatened and venues were not threatened. People simply voiced their opinions and it was then up to the venues if they wanted to cancel which the majority did.”
The ISPCA inspection found Jackson had 500 dogs on his farm, but was only licensed for 100. Cavan County Council said they would allow him to continue his operation if he reduced the number of dogs to 150.
This week he was given a licence for 180 puppies. His father was granted a licence for 45 hunting dogs.