Lahinch farmer’s Brussels struggle brings tears to eyes

A seventeen year struggle for justice for the Clair family finally started to pay some dividends with the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament instructed the Department of Agriculture to conduct a full review of their case.
Lahinch farmers Tom and Mary Clair were denied cattle tags in 2001 – despite a large number of their cattle tags being burned in a fire. This prevented the family from correctly registering their cattle and left them unable to sell a number of animals.
The decision was compounded as 2001 to 2003 were reference years for EU schemes – leaving the family financially out of pocket on a continuing basis.
The matter was raised at EU level with the help of MEP Séan Kelly (FG) – with the Department of Agriculture now expected to review the handling of the case.
Speaking after the decision, Donncha Clair, paid tribute to the work put in by his father over the last 17 years.
“I have tears in my eyes with the last hour. I was always proud of him but today Tom Clair took on city hall and won,” he said.
“For 17 years he has battled the Department of Agriculture for justice. He has had many a door closed in his face and many a dark day put down. But he never gave up.
“Today in Brussels MEP Sean Kelly brought his case to a petitions committee chaired by a Scandinavian woman. An English and a German MEP backed up what Sean Kelly so expertly presented to the committee.
“The Scandinavian chairwoman naturally fell in love with Tom and not only came on his side but congratulated and wished him well with the quads. Never give up folks and always stand up for what you believe in. Tom Clair. My father. My hero.”
The Clair family reached national attention in February of last year with the one in a billion birth of quad calves on their farm in Ennistymon.
“The Petitions committee has decided to write to the Department of Agriculture to ask them to review the case of Tom and Mary Clair to see if there is some flexibility to help them and give them their entitlements. The Petition is also being referred to the Committee on Agriculture of the European Parliament so that committee can also examine the case,” said MEP, Sean Kelly (FG).

Photo: Seán Kelly MEP (Ireland South) is pictured with Tom Clair from Maghera, Lahinch.


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