Suspended prison sentences were handed out to two cattle farmers from County Cork yesterday (30 November) after the judge found them guilty of tampering with the results of TB testing.

The Macroom District Court heard from Brian Flaherty, a department of agriculture veterinary inspector, on how William O’Brien and Michael Kelleher collaborated to inject slurry into cattle with the aim of making it appear that the animals had contracted TB, thereby leaving the men to gain huge compensation under the TB eradication scheme.

Both O’Brien, who stood to collect compensation payments worth £29,000, and Kelleher admitted the charges and were found guilty of affecting TB testing on five and two counts respectively.

Sentencing the two men to four and two months suspended prison terms, Judge James O’Connor said that they had acted despicably, caused suffering to animals and not only wasted tax payers’ money but also endangered public health by risking affected meat getting into the food chain.