'We can't live in fear' - farmer says community is targeted by trespassers 'casing out properties'
Criminals who inflict terror on rural communities are aware that rural crime is not being taken seriously in Ireland - says north Co Dublin farmer
North Co Dublin farmer John White says his community has had enough of being intimidated, assaulted and robbed by criminals.
Mr White, who owns a farm in Killossery, told the Irish Independent that on two separate occasions thieves stole garden equipment from his property.
However, his neighbours have endured far worse recently.
"Many farms and homes are being targeted by groups of individuals trespassing on their land with lurcher dogs. They claim they are hunting, but in reality they're casing out their property.
"In early September, my neighbour was savagely set upon and ended up in hospital with serious injuries.
"Last year, my other neighbour was beaten up and had his leg and arm broken.
"Incidents like these have long-lasting consequences for the people involved. It's safe to say most farmers in the area have suffered losses of property, be it equipment or livestock.
"We say enough is enough. Recently, a WhatsApp group has been set up and those in this group messaging scheme highlight anything untoward happening in the area."
Mr White added that criminals who inflict terror on rural communities are aware that rural crime is not being taken seriously in Ireland.
"I believe if we work together as a community and with the Garda we will stem the flow of crime. We cannot live in fear going about our daily life.
"It is a well-known fact that many people who are caught stealing are already out on bail for previous misdemeanours. Our bail laws must change.
"There must be deterrents and punishments that fit the crime.
"People in rural Dublin and its surrounding areas have had enough."
Dublin Irish Farmers' Association chair Philip Maguire said that north Dublin farmers have become one of the largest groups of victims of rural crime in the country.
"There have been far too many cases in recent years," he said. "It has got to a stage where we have advised farmers not to confront trespassers.
"Stronger and tougher sentencing is required to keep criminals off our farms," he said.
Mr Maguire and Mr White were both speaking at an IFA event in Swords to discuss how rural crime is affecting the farming community.
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