The owner of 16 sheep killed in a dog attack last week says he doesn't know who to turn to after losing faith in the authorities following other incidents.
Henry McElroy lost 16 sheep during an attack on Friday at his farm in Hackballscross which he believes involved alsatian dogs. Part of Mr McElroy's farm is in the North, which makes it difficult for him to get insurance, and he said he was devastated by the loss of so many animals in 'such a violent way'.
He said: 'These dogs I believe have been running around the country and they have been on my farm before. After this incident, I want action but I don't have faith in those who are supposed to be in charge of this type of thing'.
The farmer said he felt there was 'no point' in reporting the incident to Louth County Council or the Gardai and he felt that the issue of dogs attacking sheep is not being taken seriously enough, particularly in government, specifically in the Department of Agriculture. He wants more action on the issue of all Ireland microchipping systems for dogs.
And Mr McElroy became emotional when he spoke about how he watched his sheep dying and how helpless he felt. In addition, he said older farmers in the area feel isolated.
Mr McElroy was one of a number of farmers from Hackballscross who attended a meeting in Dooley's, Edmondstown, on Monday night, organised by the Irish Farmers' Association and was attended by IFA president Joe Healy.
The organisation's Louth chairman, Gerry Melia, was also there and he said Mr McElroy and the other farmers spoke passionately and articulately about their concerns and upset about sheep attacks.
Mr Melia said the IFA president was sympathetic to their concerns and Louth IFA are going to assist Mr McElroy in getting help with this issue and are to liaise the dog warden at Louth County Council about the attack.
He said: 'Henry and the other farmers went to the meeting and they were given the opportunity to tell their stories to Mr Healy. They felt they were not getting help from anyone and they feel this is a real health and safety issue. We understand that the dogs that did this are in the south and we will be speaking again to the dog warden and the head vet.
'We believe that over the last couple of years, more sheep have been killed by the same dogs and people didn't want to say anything, they didn't want the hassle but we will try to help these people and ensure they are supported.
'It is not right what is happening and farmers shouldn't feel isolated and powerless. The IFA will be supporting them and will continue to highlight this'.