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The man appeared in court this week via video link from prison where he is on remand.

Judge tells Clare man ‘sell a cow or go to jail’


A judge has told a cattle dealer €6,700 in arrears on his child maintenance payments to “sell a cow or go to jail”, writes Gordon Deegan.

At the Family Law Court, Judge Mary Larkin issued the ultimatum to the father of the two children at the centre of the arrears dispute.

The man told Judge Larkin that he has fallen into arrears on his child maintenance payments of €100 a week as he can’t afford the payments.

Judge Larkin said that the court order was made in 2019 concerning the €100 per week.

The dealer explained: “Back then, I was buying a lot more cattle – with this online I only have half the work and farmers are doing the sales at home themselves over the phone.”

Judge Larkin told him: “You have got to pay up – borrow money or sell stock.”

Judge Larkin stated: “Sell a cow or go to jail…The issue is that you’re not doing what you are supposed to do. It is much easier for me to send you to jail and then I bet the money will turn up in the morning.”

Judge Larkin commented: “The awful thing about it is is that you will stay in jail until it is paid.”

After the man told Judge Larkin of the impact online trade is having on his business, Judge Larkin said: “Go and do something else.”

“You have two growing children and you have to activate yourself and provide for them. You are in arrears of €6,700 and you are in the situation you are in because you haven’t paid the money – just do what you are supposed to do.”

Judge Larkin told the man that his ex-partner has to feed the two children, light the house, drive them to school along with other costs.

The dealer told Judge Larkin that he works on a family farm but doesn’t get paid for the work.

Judge Larkin said: “You cannot be earning no money at the expense of your children.”

Judge Larkin said that the work on the family farm is like ‘I am investing in my inheritance that I will ultimately get and I will pay nothing for my children’.

The judge told the man that by March 3 at the next family law court date “you will have to have made a substantial payment”.

The man told Judge Larkin at a previous court date that he didn’t want the family farm for himself but for his children.

The man stated his business model is that a farmer would ask him to buy 10 cattle at a mart “and I would get a tenner a piece” for each animal bought.

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