A father and daughter who farm near Augher are dealing with the impact of being closed with TB for the first time in over 20 years. 

Michael Lennon and his daughter, Maria Lennon-Nugent, from Aughadarragh, had two cows culled due to TB in October 2023, which closed their herd of 30-suckler cows and placed severe restrictions on selling livestock. 

As a result, the Lennons haven't sold any livestock - apart from three cows which they were able to take to an abattoir - since October, which has impacted cash flow.  The situation has also taken an emotional toll. 

"There's no income coming in at the minute," Maria said. "It has left us that we haven't been able to sell weanlings since September, and it has restricted us from selling animals when we would normally.

"It does have an impact on finances and the farm as a business. We also have 50 ewes, I drive a school bus part-time, and I suppose that keeps the ship from sinking and means we aren't as reliant on the cattle. 

"TB is just another thing for farmers to deal with at the moment, and it's especially hard at the moment due to the weather. We have no stock out at the moment and every other week something has to be done with slurry."

Maria added that the detection of TB on the farm last year marked the first time in over two decades that the herd has been closed. 

She also feels that, up until recently, TB was seldom an issue in the local area but she is now hearing of more and more local farmers in the same boat, pointing to a rise in prevalence. 

"I suppose the only way to look at it is we aren't on our own," she said.

"We weren't down for about 20 years so we have been clear of it for a long time. From memory, back then this area didn't really have TB but I know of a couple of neighbours who have it now.

"You hear of TB more and more these days, so it's definitely getting more common, and it seems to go in areas."

After five long months, Maria's father, Michael, is hoping that a clear test in the coming weeks would afford a "fresh start" for them. 

"If we get clear soon that will be a fresh start. Like any farmer in this situation, we are living in hope," he said.