Members of the Defence Forces were called in to shoot five cattle on a farm in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, yesterday.

The cattle were on a farm that is the subject of bankruptcy proceedings.

An official from the Insolvency Service of Ireland dealing with the matter confirmed in a statement that the shooting took place.

Chris Lehane said it was carried out by trained army personnel in the interests of the animals, public safety, and to prevent the spread of TB in local livestock following consultations between himself, Department of Agriculture officials, An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces.

Mr Lehane said as part of his job as Official Assignee he had visited the farm on many occasions and had tried to take the cattle off the farm with trained assistants.

He alleges that gate chains were repeatedly cut allowing cattle onto roads endangering the local community.

Cattle shot on Monaghan farm (graphic content) - Credit: Irish Farmers' Journal

He said removing the final five animals was not possible due to "security issues" of people involved in previous removals, which led to his decision to carry out the cull.

In a statement, the Department of Agriculture said the five cattle were killed due "to a significant concern for public safety".

It said the operation was carried out "at the request of the official assignee responsible for the herd", in conjunction with the gardaí, the department and the Defence Forces. 

In a statement, Mr Lehane said: "As Official Assignee I have a duty to recover value from assets of bankruptcy estates and it is clearly not in my interests to kill cattle, nor would I do it, without firstly having exhausted every other possible avenue open to me to resolve the problem".