animal harm | 

Official convicted of animal neglect 'no longer' working for Agriculture Department

Bernard Brian Kilgariff (64) had previously carried out animal welfare investigations for the Department
Bernard Brian Kilgariff is confronted by the Sunday World

Bernard Brian Kilgariff is confronted by the Sunday World

Patrick O’Connell

AN agriculture official, who had some of his convictions appealed by the Minister after he was found guilty of “the greatest form of cruelty” to animals on his own farm – is no longer working for the Department.

A Department spokesperson confirmed the development to the Sunday World this week but was unable to clarify whether Bernard Brian Kilgariff (64) had retired or had his employment terminated as a result of his convictions.

In June, The Sunday World confronted Kilgariff, who carried out animal welfare investigations for the Department, after he was convicted by Sligo District Court of animal neglect and animal welfare breaches.

He was further convicted of two counts relating to breaches of the 2015 Disposal of Carcases Regulations.

The court heard how inspectors who visited his farm in Bricklieve, Sligo, discovered:

*Carcasses of animals that had lain unburied for up to four weeks;

*A cow with a broken leg that had to be put down;

*A black bull and two Charolais cows who were so emaciated and weak they also had to be euthanised;

*And lands strewn with rubbish including oil cans, batteries and bags of ash which would have been poisonous to animals if consumed.

Pictures and videos obtained by the Sunday World also showed how the hooves of two donkeys - rescued from the hellish conditions on Kilgariff’s farm - were so overgrown they could barely walk.

Sentencing Judge Kevin Kilraine was heavily critical of the Department of Agriculture as he imposed a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, on each of the charges relating to the animal carcasses and the animal welfare charges.

One of the two donkeys found with hooves in horrific state

One of the two donkeys found with hooves in horrific state

Mr Kilgariff was also convicted on two other testing charges and fined €1,000 in relation to those matters.

“The only thing that amazes me is this man is still a senior agricultural officer with the department, and secondly, during the currency of this he was still collecting a full salary,” he said.

“A gentleman overseeing the very matters for which he has pleaded guilty.”

The judge described the department’s pursuit as too lenient and said it should have been more “robust”.

When confronted by the Sunday World and asked if he had anything to say about the conditions on his lands, 64-year-old Kilgariff declined to comment.

“No, I don’t have anything to say to you,” he said.

“It’s all sub-judice, you know.”

One of the two donkeys found with hooves in horrific state.

One of the two donkeys found with hooves in horrific state.

The conviction relating to the animal carcasses were subsequently appealed by the Minister for Agriculture who claimed the District Court had erred in law and acted in excess of its jurisdiction by imposing a concurrent four-month suspended prison sentence in respect of offences concerning the disposal of animal carcasses.

The High Court was told that the maximum penalty that could be imposed for offences concerning the disposal of animal carcasses is a fine.

As a result, counsel said, the Minister brought proceedings aimed at having the suspended sentences and the convictions in respect of the two breaches of the 2015 regulations quashed.


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