ordered to give donation to animal charity
A CULDAFF woman has been ordered to give a donation
to an animal charity after one of her horses
wandered onto a public road, writing off an oncoming
Eileen McDaid, St Boden's Terrace, pleaded not
guilty at Carndonagh District Court following the
incident at Culkeeney, Malin, on October 27, 2010.
The victim, Mary McColgan, Sea View House, Bunn,
Culkeeney, told the court she was driving along
around 7.15pm when the incident happened.
She was preparing to dip her headlights for an
oncoming car when there was “a huge bang” and a
crash that suddenly “rocked the car and rocked me”.
“I was stunned, it came out of nowhere. I hadn't
seen anything on the road," she said. She then saw a
horse stomping about on the road and she heard it
Mrs McColgan flashed her lights to warn oncoming
traffic of the danger.
She noticed a gate hanging inwards to a field with
another horse inside. She told the court the only
thing holding the gate was a piece of thin blue rope
tied to the bottom left hinge side. The gate
appeared to be "tied to the bushes" with no securing
posts. She saw that the horse that struck her car
was hurt and bleeding.
A passing motorist stopped, went to his own car and
found a piece of rope. He tied the gate so that the
second horse wouldn't escape the field. A neighbour
arrived on the scene and managed to get the injured
horse into an opposite field for safety, Judge Paul
Kelly was told. Mrs McColgan said her daughter had
paid £5,000Stg for the car but it was written off
and fetched only €500 as scrap. Mrs McColgan
testified that the accident had left her phobic
about driving at night and she now had to be
accompanied. She was fearful when dipping her
headlights because of "not knowing what will be
Garda Rhona Bohan told the court the gate was
"literally propped against a hedge" with no pillars
and was "totally inadequately secured". She said the
gate was only "bridging a gap" in the hedge.
Eileen McDaid testified that she had earlier checked
her two stud horses at 6.15pm and the gate was
safely secured. Photos taken by her sister a year
after the accident showed the gate secured to
pillars. The defendant insisted that this was how
the gate was always secured and it came as a "great
shock" to her that the horse had escaped. Her
husband testified that he had accompanied her to the
field an hour before the accident and had found
everything in order.
But Judge Kelly said he was not satisfied with
either Eileen McDaid's evidence or her husband's.
There was a "fundamental conflict" in the evidence.
He said Garda Bohan's evidence had been "clear and
stood up to cross examination".
Defence solicitor Ray Lannon pleaded for leniency on
behalf of his client, who had no previous
convictions. It was accepted by the court that the
mother of three in her late 40s, was a committed
farmer who "loved her horses". Mr Lannon said
farming was the "backbone of Inishowen" and that,
despite the best efforts of farmers, animals broke
out from time to time. He said the incident had had
a profound effect on his client and he appealed to
the judge not to impose a conviction. Judge Kelly
agreed to apply the Probation Act and leave the
defendant conviction-free provided she donate €150
by March 20 to the local branch of the Irish Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPSA).
The court heard that Mrs McColgan had received no
compensation for the accident. Judge Kelly said she
had recourse to a civil action.