‘Public information key to cattle theft investigations’

When members of the public provide information to the authorities about any suspicious or illegal activity concerning the movement of cattle, it is treated in confidence and it greatly assists in the investigations that follow according to Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Ann Phelan.

According to the Minister, who has special responsibility for Rural Affairs, tackling the crime of cattle rustling can only be done with the combined efforts of gardaí, staff from my Department and the general public.

“I therefore ask members of the public to continue their support in that regard. Farmers who have heavily invested in rearing animals and bringing them to the point of slaughter are the real victims of this crime. I am aware of the devastating impact that the theft of animals has on the individual farmers.”

Department figures show the number of cattle reported stolen since January 1, 2012, is 555, out of a total population of 6.9 million animals.

Minister Phelan said that there is also close liaison with the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland aimed at addressing the issue of stolen livestock.

She highlighted the fact that a recent operation involving the Department’s investigation division and the Garda resulted in the discovery of an illegal abattoir near the Border and the subsequent questioning of two persons.

The Minister conceded that it is difficult to understand how such animals can in some cases disappear.

“However, we know they are disappearing into something. I appeal to farmers in the area, gardaí and members of the public to be very vigilant. This is the way forward. The same happened with fuel laundering.”

She stressed that it is possible to reduce the impact by keeping vigilant and ensuring that everybody is informed and doing their job.