‘Rural crime gets a slow response or no response’

The resounding theme of an IFA meeting on rural crime in north Co. Dublin earlier this week was that there needs to be an overhaul of the judiciary system when it comes to prosecuting trespassers on farmers land.

Around 70 people attended a meeting held in the Bracken Court Hotel in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.

Laurence Ward, Dublin IFA Chairman opening the meeting said that crime is a serious problem in rural Dublin.

“Farmers feel let down by the services, wherever they may be. It’s either a slow response or no response. Then when it does come, it’s too late.”

Several farmers spoke from the floor, with one questioning when the judiciary system is going to waken up when it comes to rural crime.

One farmer pointed out that there’s people in jail for tax offences and then you have these people going around.

“People should be done for trespassing 24 hours a day. People are not entitled to be on my land without my permission.

“Lurchers [often people trespassing on land with dogs to chase a hare] are walking my land everyday.They don’t give a sh*te about my sheep.

“There’s nothing being done, as soon as they go to court they’re thrown out.”

Meanwhile, Rory Dwyer, a farmer from St. Margaret’s, said that the lurchers never get their dole stopped. He said that there’s no cost to them on this.

It’s a revolving door for them. If we have a few tags missing, we get penalised. We can lose area payment with the strike of a pen.

An Garda Siochana was represented at the meeting in Balbriggan by Peter Smith, a Sergeant in the Crime Prevention Office in Dublin and by Sergeant John Cannon.

Sergeant Cannon, who is based in Lusk, said that these lurchers come from all over the city of Dublin and that the problem covers a lot of Garda districts and regions.

Sergent Cannon received several questions from the floor, regarding trespassers.

“If someone is trespassing anywhere with intent to commit a crime, they can be arrested be the Gardai.”

One farmer asked was it admissible in court to record a conversation with a trespasser to which Sergeant Cannon said that it is admissible.

Colin Connolly, the IFA’s Rural Crime Prevention Executive was also present at the meeting last night. He was asked about shooting a dog on the land.

“You can shoot the dog if it is worrying livestock – you can’t shoot the man.”