When pig farmer Donal Connaughton tried forcing two repo men to strip naked and hop in a pen with a hog, it was almost like a real-life version of the movie Deliverance.
There was no Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, or Ned Beatty, but there were primal fears and pig squeals all the same. There are many unforgettable agriculture stories that spill onto the headlines each year — but the Donal Connaughton pig tale is bizarrely exceptional.
In April of 2010, Patrick Mulvey and Justin Tighe, repo men for Assets Security in Dublin, Ireland, were sent to pick up a generator and two power washers from Donal Connaughton’s pig farm, JAC Pigs Ltd. — a 12,000 pig operation. The 22-year-old farm was heavy in debt and Connaughton owed approximately $4,000 on the generator and power washers.
It should have been the age-old repo get-and-grab operation, but as it turned out for Mulvey and Tighe, the ordinary regrettably became the bitterly extraordinary.
Connaughton refused to hand over the machinery, and along with wife Margaret and several farmhands, wound up in a physical brawl with Mulvey and Tighe. Connaughton got the best of the repo men in the fight, latched on to their truck with a backhoe, and then refused to let them go.
Enraged, Connaughton told the repo men they could leave, but only on foot and in the nude. With their truck going nowhere, he told them they could walk away naked. Why? From Connaughton’s trial testimony: "to humiliate them like they humiliated me. I wanted them to go down the road stripped to humiliate them that no one would give them a lift.”
Tighe offered a bit more detail: “He said to us that we had met the devil and he told me he would take my head off and eat it. He said if we were willing to strip we could walk down the road naked.”
Mulvey and Tighe refused to strip and demanded to be let go.
And then things got buckwild.
In shades of Deliverance, Connaughton next brought a hog out, got it “agitated” and put the fear of fears in Mulvey and Tighe. The repo men were begging Connaughton to let them go and also secretly using a cell phone to record 22 minutes of audio from the surreal melee — hollering, mercy pleas and pig squeals.
From RTE News and Tighe’s subsequent court testimony: “He [Tighe] said that Mr. Connaughton brought a black wild boar into the yard and told him he was going to find out what it was like. Mr. Tighe alleged that Mr. Connaughton said, ‘Go on, be a man, strip naked and get in with the boar.’” (Tighe also told the court he suffered post-traumatic stress and needed psychiatric counseling after the incident.)
And from the Irish Independent: “… Mr. Cannaughton asked them which of them was man enough to get into the pen with the wild boar. He added that the boar would show them what happens to inmates in prison.”
Connaughton later claimed that when he told the repo men to get naked and climb in the hog pen, he was not aiming for violation, but rather another primal fear — severance. “Boars have a tendency to open their mouth and close it on a regular basis in a chopping fashion. It was an intimidating aspect, that was the intention of the boar.”
Regardless, Mulvey and Tighe were near straitjacket panic from the possibility of either prospect and continued pleading for release. Finally, and to their eternal relief, Connaughton chose prayer, and not the pig, as a corrective measure. He told Mulvey and Tighe they could leave, fully clothed — but first they would have to get on their knees and pray.
It may have been the most sincere “Our Father” either of the men ever recited. With both of them kneeling and praying in the farm yard, Connaughton cut in “towards the end of the prayer and drew attention to the reference to trespass, and that they should heed this.”
He then told Mulvey and Tighe they had caught him “on a good day” and let them go.
When the repo men told their story to police, Connaughton and was arrested and later was convicted in 2012 on several charges: false imprisonment, threatening to cause harm, assault and criminal damage. However, Connaughton is yet to be *sentenced, with four deferrals so far, the latest coming a few weeks ago.
Connaughton, 55, is fighting to the end, as he told the Sunday World: “There’s not a jail in all the land that will hold me. I have evidence that will show corruption from the highest level.”
*On Nov. 11, Connaughton was sentenced to 1 year in prison.
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