Worrying increase in illegal hunting by gangs and their dogs, farmers hear at crime meeting
North Dublin farmers have become one of largest victims of rural crime in the country, according to the Irish Farming Association (IFA).
More than one hundred concerned residents assembled at Carnegie Court Hotel in Swords last night following a number of criminal incidents targeting farmers and the wider rural community in north County Dublin.
In September, a local farmer suffered a violent and unprovoked attack when he confronted a number of men who were trespassing on his land.
Father-of-three Patrick Walsh (47), from Lispopple, Swords suffered four cracked ribs, a dislocated shoulder and needed stitches to his face after he was kicked repeatedly on the ground about 150m from his home.
It followed other incidents where a farmer in St. Margaret’s discovered men illegally dumping on his land went to ring the Gardai, but was run over by the van as they struck the gate.
In the same area, another farmer approached men with dogs on his land and he was also assaulted and threatened at knifepoint.
The meeting organised by the IFA included representatives from the farming body and the gardai.
IFA’s Deputy President Richard Kennedy told Independent.ie that north county Dublin has suffered from an increased bout of rural crimes in recent times.
“Throughout the country rural crimes are prevalent, but north Dublin has been one of the worst hit areas in the country recently.
“The meeting was to give residents in north Dublin some confidence that efforts are being made to tackle this serious issue and how we’re liaising with the gardai.
“We’re expressing how important a garda presence is. There is obviously not enough, which is definitely one of the reasons why rural crime is happening so often.”
He added: “We have seen a worrying increase in the hunting of hares (illegal under the Wildlife Act) and gangs with their dogs are trespassing on farmlands.
“When approached by farmers and land owners, they are hostile, and in some cases, are violent.
“They worry livestock, damage fences and leave gates open and animals distressed. This problem needs to be addressed urgently”.
In an address to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality this week, IFA called for the establishment of a dedicated Rural Crime Task Force. A similar UK task force has been successful in tackling rural crime.