The issue of men trespassing with dogs on land and intimidating farmers in north and west Clare has been raised with Gardai.

Fine Gael TD Joe Carey said he has received a number of reports about farmlands being trespassed by men with dogs illegally hunting hares and subsequently, made contact with the Clare Garda Chief Superintendent.

“Chief Superintendent Colleran reacted positively to my representations and agreed to appoint a Clare Garda Inspector to work with affected landowners with a view to stamping out this highly unwelcome and brutal activity,” he said.

“It’s simply not acceptable that the perpetrators of these acts can take over lands without any permission – intimidating farmers, spooking livestock, causing loss of their young, killing hares, knocking walls, leaving gates open and then walking off scot-free.

“Work is ongoing but I am hopeful that these illegal activities will now be tackled comprehensively with all stakeholders now working together, including An Garda Síochana, affected landowners, officials from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and other interested parties.”

Fianna Fail TD Cathal Crowe said the problem has been evident for the past few months, with farmers being subjected to “horrible intimidation”.

Groups of men, he said, are going to farmland, parking vans and walking across fields.

When confronted by farmers, the men argue that they have every entitlement to be on the land and tell the farmers they know where they live, he said.

“The farmers have set up a WhatsApp group and contact each other when these groups arrive,” he added.

Deputy Crowe said that the firearms being used by these gangs need to be seized as they are being used against the spirit of the law to threaten farmers.

Farmers should feel safe when on their own property, he said.

The Clare TD claimed that the armed response unit was needed to swoop on these groups. He recently presented Chief Superintendent Colleran with a list of vehicle registration numbers that can frequently be found in the area, and suggested that their tax and insurance details be checked.

“If action is not taken, someone will be killed there,” he said.