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Yeomanstown fined €22,000 for unlicensed animal remedies

David O'Callaghan: described the case as a systems failure
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Three members of the O'Callaghan family of Yeomanstown Stud have been fined an aggregate €22,000 for possession of unauthorised animal remedies, including sedatives.

Gay O'Callaghan, Annette O'Callaghan and their son David O'Callaghan had pleaded guilty in December at Naas District Court to eight counts against them related to the possessions.

On Monday, Judge Desmond Zaidan fined Gay and David O'Callaghan - the manager of the stud - a total of €8,000 each in respect of four charges. Annette O'Callaghan was fined a total of €6,000 in relation to three charges.

Mull Enterprises Ltd, the company which owns Yeomanstown, was fined a total of €10,000.

Jim Cosgrove, of Cosgrove Pharmacy, Newbridge, who had pleaded guilty to ten counts in relation to the supply of animal remedies to the stud contrary to regulations, received fines totalling €6,000. Cosgrove Pharmacy Ltd and the company was fined a total of €8,000 in respect of ten guilty pleas.

Local vet Alice Bena Hickey, of the Curragh, County Kildare, entered guilty pleas in December on two counts but pleaded not guilty to a third. Her case was listed for September 4.

The court heard that Department of Agriculture vet Louis Reardon, a member of the special investigations unit, gave evidence that when an investigations team arrived at the stud farm on September 12, 2014 to carry out an inspection "it quickly became apparent there was unauthorised product present".

Reardon took possession of three animal remedy products from an open shed in the yard.

David O'Callaghan was out of the country on that occasion.

Officials obtained a search warrant and Gay O'Callaghan asked to contact his solicitor and did so. On entering the house, Reardon said he found an employee attempting to remove animal health remedies from the basement.

Responding to prosecuting barrister Noel Whelan, Reardon said it was his view they were behaving as if there were no regulations whatsoever.

The remedies seized included Dormosedan, an American veterinary sedative authorised for use only in the US by a veterinary surgeon and technically unauthorised in Ireland. A 'front line' antibiotic not licensed for use in horses except in certain conditions was also seized.

Phenylbutazone, the anti-inflammatory and painkiller known as bute, was also seized. Horse passports must be stamped if bute is used to ensure the animal does not enter the food chain because it was potentially carcinogenic, Reardon said.

Reardon described the stud as having animals that could potentially get into the food chain because passports were not stamped to expressly ensure animals treated with carcinogenic remedies did not go into the food chain.

Martin Hayden, counsel for the O'Callaghans, said the farm bred thoroughbred horses and none went for food production. 

Reardon said it was his view that David O'Callaghan was "somewhat less than entirely honest" when he was subsequently interviewed, adding: "Some of the answers were at variance with the documentation."

David O'Callaghan said he answered the questions as best as he could. He described what happened as a systems failure, but said they had put a new system in place with medicines under lock and key at the stud, which the court was told paid about €150,000 in veterinary fees every year.

Reardon said it was his view that David O'Callaghan was "somewhat less than entirely honest" when he was subsequently interviewed
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