November 5, 2014

A Co Donegal farmer has been given until December 1st to provide proof of ownership of a tractor worth almost £44,000 (€55,000) which was seized by Gardai.

Letterkenny Court.

Letterkenny Court.

Noel Devine appeared at Letterkenny District Court claiming ownership of the machinery which was taken from his land at Kirkneedy, Newmills.

Detective Garda Michael Carroll told the court that the tractor was on an alert list from the PSNI.

They seized the tractor as they were searching for other alleged stolen goods on Mr Devine’s lands, he claimed.

That followed a court case in Strabane in which a hire purchase firm, Societe Generale, had claimed ownership of the tractor.

The firm claimed it had entered into an agreement with a Noel Martin Devine of 8 Melmount Gardens, Strabane for the machine.

It had a total cash price of £43,800 and that Mr Devine had paid £10,800.

A total of £49,535 was owed on the machine but Societe Generale claimed no further payments were made on the machine.

Mr Devine, from Newmills, claimed it was he who had lived at 8 Melmount Gardens, as he was going through a divorce at the time.

He agreed he had taken finance on the tractor but had refused to make any more payments because the tractor had broken down.

Devine said he had went back to the firm he had bought the tractor from and explained it had broken down but they said it was out of their hands.

Devine told Judge Paul Kelly that he was a member of the Irish Farmers Association and he had asked the Donegal branch to write to the finance company explaining his situation but they had received no reply.

Devine said he had never ben contacted by the courts in Northern Ireland about the seizure of the tractor saying he “would have loved the opportunity to have gone there (to court).”

Devine added “I wasn’t served anything and this just isn’t right.”

Judge Paul Kelly said he was adjourning the case until December 1st and suggested that Devine bring a member of the IFA with him to explain how they tried to contact the hire purchase firm in relation to the matter.

He also asked him to bring along any other documentation he may have in relation to the tractor.

However, Judge Kelly warned that it may not advance matters.