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Man told to ‘sell a cow or go to jail’ hands over €5k in fifties

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A CATTLE dealer served with a child maintenance arrears ultimatum by a judge of “sell a cow or go to jail” has handed €5,000 in €50 notes into court, writes Gordon Deegan

At the Family Law Court, the cattle dealer told Judge Mary Larkin that a man he buys cattle for phoned him to help out on his child maintenance arrears debt.

Judge Larkin had issued the ‘sell a cow or go to jail’ ultimatum on the cattle dealer last month.

The cattle dealer said that the friend gave him a loan of €5,000 in the form of a cheque which he cashed and handed into court.

The cattle dealer said: “He is a well-off person and he rang to help me out.”

Judge Larkin said that after the €5,000 has been paid over, the cattle dealer owes a further €1,600 in maintenance arrears.

After the man handed over the bundle of €50 notes, Judge Larkin told him: “It was only when I threatened you with jail that you paid out the €5,000.”

The man had fallen into arrears on his child maintenance payments of €100 a week and said he can’t afford the payments as a lot of cattle dealing had now gone online due to Covid-19.

He said that he is currently paying €50 a week in maintenance for his two children.

In response, Judge Larkin stated: “You can’t just do what you feel like – these are court orders for €100 per week. When are you going to bring it up to the correct amount?”

The man said that he receives €203 per week in social welfare and an average of €80 per week for his cattle dealing work.

Judge Larkin told the man that if he wishes to have his weekly maintenance payments reduced, he should provide financial statements that include the amount of stock he owns.

She added, “If you want to reduce the maintenance, you have to produce a full and complete statement of means.”

The cattle dealer said that there may be weeks when he doesn’t buy any cattle or he may have a week when he sells 20 cattle at €10 a head.

The man’s ex-partner and mother of their two children said that she is working 65 hours a fortnight but is living in ‘relative poverty’.

The mother said that she is paying the house mortgage and two other loans to keep the house going.

She said: “The €50 is not enough for the two children a week.”

The woman said that her former partner has close family relations who have 100 cattle that he manages for them.

Judge Larkin told the man: “You have obligations to pay for your children and the next day you are required to have €1,600 in court. I expect you to have it and I expect you to pay the €100 per week.”

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