Illegal hunting and lurching a ‘major concern’ to farmers

Illegal hunting and lurching is a major concern to farmers – with associated issues ranging from criminal damage and animal worrying to trespassing and intimidation, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Responding to the publication of the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO’s) Crime and Victimisation Report 2019, IFA deputy president Brian Rushe said it highlighted the resources needed to tackle rural crime.

The figures reported in the CSO data are in line with other national reports. Commenting, Rushe said:

Illegal hunting and lurching is a major concern to farmers with trespassing, criminal damage, animal worrying and intimidation the main issues associated with these activities.

The IFA reiterated its call for greater visibility of An Garda Síochána, along with increased community policing and crime prevention initiatives, to tackle these issues.

“Increased Garda visibility, reporting of rural crime in the PULSE [Police Using Leading Systems Effectively] system, greater community engagement and quicker response times to crime are needed to address the concerns of the farming community and rural dwellers,” he said.

The deputy president said he would continue to work on these issues through the National Rural Safety Forum, which he co-chairs with a senior member of An Garda Síochána.

Trespassing ‘most common’ crime against farmers

Trespassing is the “most common” crime against farmers, according to the CSO’s report.

Farming households were surveyed and the results show that trespassing was the most frequently reported crime, with 18% of farming respondents to the survey saying they experienced trespassing on their land.

Respondents in farming households were asked a series of additional questions as part of the survey relating to their experience of crimes specific to farms. Over a fifth (21%) of farming households said that a crime or crimes had been committed against the farm in the 12 months prior to the interview.

In the report, it is also outlined that 2% of respondents said they experienced theft of farm machinery, 1% reported theft of / interfering with livestock and 0.5% reported theft of a farm vehicle.