Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 19 August 2017

Exclusive: Majority of farmers with guns would shoot when faced with intruder on their property

'I'm miles from a Garda station…would the intruder wait?'

Margaret Donnelly & Ciaran Moran

A total of 72pc of farmers with guns would use them to defend themselves and their property if they had to, an exclusive FarmIreland.ie survey has revealed.

The survey of over 1,000 farmers found while 91pc say they feel safe in their home, 63pc said they would try defend themselves rather than calling the Gardai and of the 40pc who keep a gun in their house 72pc said they would use it to defend themselves.

Respondents who said they would try defend themselves said they would use hurleys; slash hooks; pokers in the event of an intruder breaking in. Some respondents claimed to have used a firearm in previous incidents on their property.

Recent figures show that two-thirds of farmers have been the victims of crime and the FarmIreland.ie survey shows that farmers in the West and North West are more likely to not feel safe in their own home than those in the rest of the country.

The poll result comes some 13 years since the infamous case of farmer Padraig Nally who shot dead John Ward for trespassing on his land in Mayo.

Today, many farmers told the survey authors that they only feel safe because they have a gun in the house, keep dogs or have electronic gates or even camera systems in place.

Padraig Nally during his trial for the manslaughter of John Ward in October 2004.
Padraig Nally during his trial for the manslaughter of John Ward in October 2004.

There are over 200,000 legally held firearms in Ireland and estimates put the number of unregistered firearms at 150,000 and of the 40pc who said they keep a gun, older farmers are more likely to have a gun in the house.


Older farmers are more likely to feel unsafe, the survey found, with 18pc of those over 65 years of age saying they don’t feel safe in their home. In contrast, just 1pc of those 18-34 years of age said they feel unsafe.

They were also more likely to try defend themselves than younger farmers – 47pc of 18-34 year olds said they would call the Gardai.

“He would not be walking out,” one respondent said, while another was more tempered and said they’d “Use the gun as a last resort”. However, most were of the “Point the gun and shoot. Ask questions later” attitude.

A numbers of farmers said they had experience of using their gun during an incident of farm theft on their property.

The sentiment among respondents was most apparent among older respondents, with “At my age I couldn’t do much”, being a common response.

Others said their proximity to Garda stations was another issue. “I am 10 miles from a Garda station…would the intruder wait?”

And others called for the re-establishment of rural Garda Stations – “Rural Gardai should be brought back,” while another said “(I have) No faith in Gardai at the moment”.

ICMSA President John Comer said people living in rural areas simply don’t accept that the Gardai are in a position to offer them protection as fast as the situation might warrant.

"There are massive areas of the state where even if you ring the Gardai to report suspicious activity or an actual robbery happening ‘there and then’, they’re just not in a position to get out to you for 30 or 40 minutes or longer. What are people meant to do in those circumstances?"

Politics

The survey also found that 78pc of respondents said everyone should pay for water, with Fianna Fail farmer supporters also in favour of water charges.

Fine Gael’s support among farmers is still strong, with 32pc saying they would vote for Enda Kenny’s party. Fianna Fail also garner strong support among the farming community, with 25pc of the vote, however 22pc of those interviewed said they did not know how they would vote if a general election was held.

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However, there is a stark contrast between different age groups, with 55pc of 18-34 year olds saying they do not go to mass/church every week, compared to 81pc of those over 65 years old who say they do.

Fine Gael voters were more likely to go (67pc) than Fianna Fail (60pc) voters.

Farmers overwhelmingly back water charges new poll shows

Farmers' views are increasingly at odds with developments on water charging as they overwhelmingly believe that everyone should have to pay for water.

An exclusive survey of over 1,000 farmers comes following months of debates in Leinster house on the issue, leading finally to a deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fail on the issue that should see 92pc of households pay nothing for water.

Of the respondents, 78pc said that everybody should pay for water, while 20pc said that people should not have to pay for water and 2pc were undecided.

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Stock picture

Regionally, 84pc of farmers in the South said that everyone should have to pay for water compared to 74pc in the rest of the country.

Politically, 85pc of those who voted for Fine Gael said everyone should pay for water, while 72pc of Fianna Fail supporters agreed everyone should pay for water.

However, sentiment around water charges was very strong. “We’re paying all our lives. It’s like putting petrol in a car,” said one farmer who supported water charges. 

However, another said: “Water comes from God, so we should not have to pay for it” and another agreed: “It falls from the sky, so it should be free.”


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