A 63-year-old man, who assaulted a Department of Agriculture official, was fined a total of £2,250 today in the Dublin District Court. The official had discovered that the man, Charles Farrell, was running an unlicensed abattoir, in the Ranelagh area of Dublin.

Brian Flaherty, an authorised officer with the Department of Agriculture, went to inspect a premises at the rear of 83 Ranelagh Road in South Dublin, where he suspected an unlicensed abattoir was operating. The man who leased the premises, Charles Farrell, manhandled him and hit him on the legs with a steel bar.

However, Mr Flaherty scaled 10 foot high gates to uncover a substantial operation on a large premises. When back-up arrived, he found sheep carcasses hanging on rails, entrails and moulding meat, and a trailer full of sheep-skins and dead sheep.

Charles Farrell admitted assaulting Mr Flaherty, and three breaches of the Abattoir Act. He had claimed he was only using the premises that day to kill 11 sheep for family use. The premises had a license up to 1996 when it was withdrawn because the premises did not comply with the regulations. Mr Farrell is an unemployed slaughterer.

Judge Sean McBride said he was satisfied that this operation was a substantial commercial enterprise and the "racket" had been going on for a considerable period of time. He commended the authorised officer, Brian Flaherty, and he called Charles Farrell's behaviour disgraceful. Mr Farrell has three months to pay the £2,250 fine or he will go to prison for three months. Mr Farrell also entered a bond to keep the peace for the next two years.