Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Friday 27 April 2018

'Our grandparents who worked on the land for years are living in fear of being murdered in their beds'

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Stock picture
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Elderly people in rural Ireland are living in fear of being murdered in their beds, a discussion on rural crime heard at the Ploughing today.

Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) Chairman Seamus Sherlock told the Independent.ie talk that 60pc of farmers have been affected by rural crime and that 40pc have had more than one crime take place on their farm.

He said that a lot of elderly people are living in absolute fear. "They are petrified they will be murdered in their own home.

"They're our grandparents who worked on the land for years and now they are living in fear."

He also said that people in rural Ireland are afraid to walk into their neighbour's yard, afraid they'd be mistaken for a burgular. However, he said that rural Ireland will never get back to the days of the local Garda living close.

IFA Treasurer Jer Bergin said people should not be in living in fear, but should be protected.

Jer Bergin IFA,Karen Walsh ,Solicitor with Sheamus Sherlock ICSA chatting with Paul Williams on Rural Crime in the Independent Tent at the Ploughing Championships 2017 in Screggan Co Offaly
Jer Bergin IFA,Karen Walsh ,Solicitor with Sheamus Sherlock ICSA chatting with Paul Williams on Rural Crime in the Independent Tent at the Ploughing Championships 2017 in Screggan Co Offaly

"The answer is not to turn Ireland into some sort of prison camp. This is gangland crime too, it's organised with a market at the end."

Eliminating a market for stolen goods, he said, would help put a stop to crime. "If that market is gone it would be a lot harder for those people to operate."

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He also said that farmers need to mark their property, so it can be returned to them if it is recovered. Sherlock said that 99pc of farmers would not know the make of their chainsaw, nevermind the markings on it. "Too many fellows have thousands of euros worth of machinery in a shed with a €2 lock."

Farmers, he said, are too afraid to report thefts due to insurance premium hikes. A recent ICSA survey found that farmers are happier to absorb costs of up to €1,600 rather than claim it through their insurance cover.

"You'd have to sell an awful lot of cattle to get that €1,600 back. People would ll get a heart attack when they get their premium renewal ."

Farmer John Tully from Borris said his local community in Laois is fundraising to install CCTV to help reduce rural crime.

He also said that more emphasis must be put on tackling rural crime, not chasing car tax.

He also said that gangs were disguising themselves as road maintenance workers and every suspicious van should be reported to the Gardai.


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