‘Feud’ over dirt track led to farmer shooting another

A “feud” between two farmers over “a small dirt track” linking their farms led to one man shooting the other and killing his dog, a court heard on Saturday.

Ted O’Donoghue, aged 72, of Killmoreen, Kildimo, Co Limerick, appeared before a special sitting of Limerick District Court charged with assault causing harm to John Hayes, 65, at farmlands at Ballycasey, Kildimo, on Friday.

Despite strenuous Garda objections to bail, Judge Marie Keane remanded Mr O’Donoghue in custody with consent to bail on a number of “very strict conditions”.

During the bail hearing, Garda Jason Mitchell of Newcastle West Garda Station said the accused “allegedly fired a shot” from a single-barrel shotgun at Mr Hayes, “wounding him in the right shoulder”.

He told Judge Keane the “serious incident” was linked to a “dispute over a right-of-way”.

Garda Mitchell alleged gardaí had been called to lands at Ballycasey on “five occasions since June 2014”, and that the shooting last Friday, was the “latest in an ongoing long-running feud over a ‘right of way’”.

“Further more serious charges are anticipated,” Garda Mitchell added.

The court heard the right of way is on Mr O’Donoghue’s land, but three other landowners, including the injured party, have to access it to get to their lands.

“There is no other access,” Garda Mitchell said.

Objecting to bail under Section 2 of the Bail Act, and under O’Callaghan Rules, gardaí said they feared Mr O’Donoghue would interfere with witnesses.

Garda Mitchell said he arrested Mr O’Donoghue at 1.10pm last Friday at Barnakyle, Patrickswell.

He said the accused “made no reply” when charged at 10.15pm on Friday.

Remanding Mr O’Donoghue on bail, Judge Keane ordered that €3,000 of an independent cash surety of €5,000 be lodged.

The accused agreed to strict bail conditions, including that he stay away from his farmland at Ballycasey.

He also agreed to hand over the management of the farm to his brother William; to sign on daily at Newcastle West Garda Station; obey a 10p to 8am curfew; and be available to gardaí at all times.

He also agreed not to contact Mr Hayes nor any other witnesses nor adjoining landowners at Ballycasey.

“If you see your neighbours, you blank them; you don’t even look at them,” the judge told the accused.

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