Lurching can't be categorised as a crime - Justice Minister
Gardai cannot categorise 'lurching' as a crime on its Pulse system, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has confirmed.
It comes following a spate of incidents in recent months, with farmers maintaining their farms and homes are being targeted by groups of individuals trespassing on their land with lurcher dogs.
Farmers have claimed that while these individuals say they are hunting, in reality, they're casing out their property.
The Irish Farmer's Association (IFA) has raised concerns that if farmers identify people trespassing on their land, it is not considered a criminal offence.
In September, a Dublin farmer suffered a violent and attack when he confronted a number of men who were trespassing on his land.
Father-of-three Pat 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.
However, last week, Minister Flanagan said An Garda Síochána have advised that "lurching" is not provided for in legislation and therefore does not appear as an incident type or category of PULSE.
Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Justice, Jim O’Callaghan, has said that Ireland’s trespass laws must be reviewed and brought under the criminal justice system to protect businesses and landowners.
Deputy O’Callaghan said “At present, illegal trespassing is dealt with solely under our civil law system. It is not treated as a criminal issue."
Fianna Fáil said it believes that this needs to be changed so that some serious forms of trespass can be categorised as crimes.
"This is necessary to deal with those types of trespass which are for the purpose of gathering information about property that can be then be used to commit theft and burglary.
"That type of premeditated trespass can have a very damaging impact on farmers, landowners and businesses.
He also said to deal with the scourge of rural crime, other changes are needed.
He said bail laws must be changed to ensure that repeat offenders cannot get bail as easily as they can at present and that rural Garda stations must be reopened.
"We need to see more Gardaí working in the hearts of communities across rural Ireland.
“What many people are deeply frustrated with is the failure to properly roll out Garda-controlled CCTV schemes. This needs to change to give rural dwellers more confidence," he said.
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