Now that’s a good excuse for being late!

AS FAR as excuses go for being late they don’t get much better, writes Nevin Farrell.

There was no excuse like a watch stopping working or a traffic snarl-up when the Chairperson of Moyle Council arrived some 35 minutes late into a meeting in Ballycastle.

No, moo-ve over for this one, Cllr Sandra Hunter - a full-time farmer who works alone on her substantial farm near Bushmills - was late because she single-handedly helped one of her cows to successfully give birth to twins!

The 43-year-old lives and farms at Lisserluss on the Causeway Road but as well as looking after hundreds of livestock she is also able to cram in countless engagements and meetings as the ‘First Citizen’ of Moyle.

But there are some times when the two cannot be separated.

Cllr Hunter told the Times: “As I said when I arrived at the Council meeting I had a cow calving at home. I suppose you could say it is not the normal type of reason given for being late!

“A cow normally has one calf and I had been keeping an eye on this cow in the afternoon leading up to the meeting. By 5pm nothing had happened and I would normally get ready at about 6pm to go to the Council meeting at 7pm but at around 6pm I suddenly noticed that the cow was having twins and I could not take a chance to leave it until after the meeting so I had to deliver the two female calves before 7pm and then rush to the meeting!”

Cllr Hunter says she has helped her cattle give birth many times but that twins is fairly unusual.

The councillor says she is immensely enjoying her time as Chair of the Council but as the spring calving season will run until May she has not ruled out swapping the top table of the Council for the calving barn if needs be.