Dog Owners and the Worrying of Sheep

There have been a number of high profile cases involving dogs and the implications of straying dogs on sheep in countryside. The Control of Dogs Act 1986, as amended by the Control of Dogs (Amendment) Act 1992, sets out the rules pertaining to liability for dog owners for damage caused by dogs.

Section 9(2) of the Act provides that if a dog worries livestock, the owner or any other person in charge of the dog shall be guilty of an offence. The word “worry” in relation to livestock means to attack or kill or to chase the livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause death or injury or suffering to the livestock.

The Act specifies instances where it will be lawful to shoot a dog, but this should be done as a matter of last resort. Farmers need to be very careful in that regard.

The Act states that the responsibility is on the farmer to prove that the dog was shot
a. when it was worrying or was about to worry livestock and
b. that there was no other reasonable means of ending or preventing the worrying,
c. that he was the person in charge of the livestock, and
d. he notified within 48 hours the nearest Garda Station to the place where the dog was shot of the incident.

Take legal advice if you are in any doubt!

Can anyone make a valid will?

Under Irish law in order to make a valid Will a person must:

a) Be eighteen years of age or be or have been married.
b) Be of sound disposing mind.

Paragraph a) is reasonably clear. Paragraph b) is more interesting.

Over the years the Courts have developed a test for the concept of sound disposing mind and it has three parts:

i) A person must understand that he or she is making a Will, i.e. that it is a document that will dispose of their assets on their death.
ii) The person must be capable of knowing the nature and extent of their estate, i.e. their property. This includes land, houses, shares, bank accounts cash etc.
iii) The person must be able to consider persons who might be expected to benefit from their estate and to decide whether or not to benefit them.

It should be noted that despite the well-worn phrase “being of sound mind and body” there is no requirement regarding physical health when it comes to making a Will.

It should also be noted that the law recognises that a person may have a “lucid interval”. For example a person may have a mental condition affecting their capacity some or even most of the time. However if the condition is such that at times capacity returns, a Will made during one of these periods would be valid.

When a solicitor is making a Will for an elderly or infirm person it would be quite normal to ask the person’s medical practitioner to meet with the person first and give a report as to their mental state. Not having such a report does not invalidate a Will but having such a report is a good way to avoid potential disputes.

Once a person executes a Will in accordance with the legal formalities regarding witnesses etc. set out in the Succession Act it is presumed by law that he or she had capacity. It is therefore up to anyone challenging the Will to offer evidence in Court and prove that the person did not have capacity.

If you have any questions on the above, do not hesitate to contact our solicitors at 062 61288 or 052 7441244

Local Courts – Immediate Access – Family law

The District Court is a Court of local and limited jurisdiction but is the work of this Court that the general public hear about most often – have you heard Paddy O’Gorman on the Today with Sean O’Rourke RTE radio show?

The District Court is usually held once or perhaps twice a month in a local town and deals with a variety of cases. From a Family Law point of view it is often the Court of first contact for parties when their relationships have broken down, and they require immediate protection from the Courts. Orders under the Domestic Violence Legislation or Maintenance and Access to children are the types of situations that are dealt with by the District Court on a day to day basis.

In this blog, I set out the types of family law applications that can be made in the District Court and the range of Orders that can be made by the Court.

One of the most common applications to the District Court is for a Protection order – when a party is in fear of, their partner or the other parent of their child and the protection of the Court is required. A Protection order enables a party who feels that their health and safety is at risk, and they are in fear of the other person to apply to the Court in an ex-parte application ( without notice to the other side) and after giving information to the Judge under Oath – why they should be given the protection of the Court. If the Court accepts their evidence then the party can get a Protection Order which prohibits the other person from using violence, threatening violence, molesting or putting the victim/partner/spouse in fear. This is a temporary Order and only lasts until the hearing of the main Court case where the party against whom it is sought has the right to put their case forward.

The long term applications that can be sought in the District Court are a Barring Order for a period of up to three years and a Safety Order for a period of up to five years.

The other most common order in the District Court relates to Maintenance – this is where a parent / spouse / partner can apply to the Court and seek a regular payment from the other parent / spouse or partner. The District Court only has the power to Order payments to a maximum of €150.00 per week per child and €500.00 per week in respect of a spouse. If you are seeking a payment above this, an application needs to be made to the Circuit Court. It is also possible as part of the Court Order to have your maintenance paid through the District Court Clerk’s office. If the maintenance is not paid, then it is open to the Maintenance Creditor to again apply to the Court for a variety of reliefs.

The District Court is a Court of first jurisdiction and the work of the District Court especially in family law matters is of most importance to the general public.

Donal T.Ryan Solicitors LLP Cashel and Cahir, represent clients in all Courts. Aidan Leahy and Máire McMahon are experienced District Court practitioners in all aspects of Court work. Contact us at 062 61288 or 052 7441244 or

Garda Vetting – All you need to know if you work or volunteer with children or vulnerable adults


This post is relevant for those who are involved in organisations that work with children or any person whose work or activity involves access to children or indeed vulnerable adults.

On the 29th of April 2016 the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016 came into effect.

These Acts make it mandatory for people working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the Garda Siochana National Vetting Bureau.

This bureau deals with requests to provide information on certain prospective employees or other workers and carries out vetting for relevant organisations that are registered with it. Vetting is not done for individuals on a personal basis.

Under the Acts, any person whose work or activity involves access to children or vulnerable adults must be vetted. This includes staff, volunteers and those on student placements working for a relevant organisation through which they have unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults.

A “relevant organisation” is defined in Section 2 of the Acts as one that employs or permits a person to carry our work or activities which mainly consist of them having access to, or contact with, children or vulnerable adults.

The work or activities where people working with children and vulnerable adults will require vetting will include:-

1. Child Care Services.
2. Schools.
3. Hospitals and Health Services.
4. Residential Services or accommodation for children or vulnerable persons.
5. Treatment, Therapy or Counselling Services for children or vulnerable persons.
6. Provision of Leisure, Sporting or Physical Activities to children or vulnerable persons.
7. Promotion of Religious Beliefs.
8. Under the Private Securities Service Act 2004 Garda Vetting has been extended to Private Security Employees (for example, bouncers and night club security staff).


Section 20 of the Acts provides for the re-vetting of employees and other workers after a certain period of time which is to be set out in regulations. Until then, good practice suggests that re-vetting should be carried out every five years.

An organisation that requires Garda Vetting of individuals must register with the National Vetting Bureau. The organisation must appoint a liaison person to apply for and receive vetting disclosures. There is further information on the National Vetting Bureau website.

Under the Acts there are penalties attached for people who employ or enter a contract of service or allow a person to undertake relevant work on behalf of the organisation unless the organisation receives a vetting disclosure from the Bureau in respect of that person. Similarly those who fail to comply in terms of re-vetting also commit an offence as shall those who falsify or alter a vetting disclosure or make a false statement for the purposes of obtaining, or enabling other persons to obtain, a vetting disclosure or allows a vetting disclosure which relates to him or her to be used by another person in such way as to give rise to the reason to belief that records related to another person.


2016 – A Year in Review

 2016 has been a year of change.  We have said goodbye to legends from all walks of life – Terry Wogan, David Bowie, Fidel Castro, Prince, Muhammad Ali, to name but a few.  In politics, a “new” government was formed in March, and June saw the passing of the Brexit campaign.  In sport, Tipperary are once again All Ireland Hurling Champions and Irish rugby had a first historic victory over the All Blacks in Chicago.

Closer to home, we have seen changes of our own.  Bríd joined the team in April and in August, Evelyn welcomed another beautiful baby girl!  Anne Marie was once again a member of the Cashel Arts Festival Committee who celebrated the 1916 Centenary in September with many wonderful events and Donal managed the under-14 Cashel King Cormac’s team to victory in the Peil West Final and the Hurling Garda Cup Shield final. Both the Cashel and Cahir office are as busy as ever thankfully and we hope to continue in this vein into 2017.

In terms of business, we have seen a confidence creeping back into the market locally.  Commercial as well as residential conveyancing has picked up.  This has brought a number of new businesses to the area which is great news for the local economy in general.

In November, the office took part in the Best Will Week 2016 and once again we were delighted to see a big uptake by clients.  Not only were we happy to support the annual campaign by, we also know how important it is for everyone to have a Will in place.   We believe that you should hope for the best but plan for the worst and often having a Will gives people great peace of mind.

Our radio slot on the first Tuesday of every month with Joe Pryce on Tipperary Mid West Radio continues to be popular.  We always aim to keep people up to date to with relevant changes in the law and have recently discussed the new Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act and the updated PIAB Book of Quantum on the show.

Looking ahead to 2017, we are sure there are plenty more challenges to come.  Brexit is one of the biggest concerns for Irish businesses going forward and will be monitored with interest South of the border.  For first time buyers, the new Central Bank rules will come into effect from 1st January and this will hopefully ease some of the current constraints on the market.  Whatever the New Year brings, our aim is to continue to provide you with the very best level of service and to always remain approachable, competitive and efficient.

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Christmas from all of the team at Donal T. Ryan Solicitors LLP. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year.