‘Gangs can be intimidating…it’s only a matter of time until someone’s killed’

Farmers all around the country are petrified in their own homes and it’s only a matter of time until someone gets killed, ICSA Rural Development Chairman Seamus Sherlock has said.

Sherlock has called for an urgent review of government strategies designed to combat rural crime.

The Rural Development Chair made the comments following an interview on Newstalk with Clive Clarke, a farmer and victim of rural crime.

Clarke has been targeted six times with the latest being last week when he had a quad, trailers and equipment stolen from his farm.

“Rural crime is an epidemic, people are living in fear of their lives.

“Now we are hearing that farmers are patrolling the roads at night, armed with loaded shotguns, trying to prevent themselves or their neighbours being targeted by these travelling gangs.”

We can’t accept that people in rural areas should have to resort to such measures.

Sherlock said that at the very least we need more support for community alert schemes, however, with instances of rural crime on the increase there are other measures that should be urgently considered.

“We need to look using the army to back up garda resources until a full complement of Gardaí are in place to tackle these gangs.”

It is right that those living in rural Ireland are uniting to protect themselves but Sherlock said that the onus should not be on farmers to patrol the roads in an effort to prevent these robberies.

“These gangs can be very intimidating and I agree with Mr Clarke when he said that it’s only a matter of time until someone gets killed.”