Assistant Garda Commissioner Paula Hillman has committed to rolling out a series of localised meetings, hosted by Gardaí, in communities hit with rural crime.
The events will take place in the first six months of 2023.
She suggested that at the meetings, local gardaí will “listen” to and advise farmers and rural dwellers on the rural crime affecting them.
“You will have that from us. We will listen, we will do our upmost best both at a national level and a local level,” she said.
Hillman was speaking after a number of farmers shared their experiences of rural crime at the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) AGM on Monday. She was joined by Garda Chief Superintendent Padraig Jones.
Farmers raised several issues including a lack of garda presence in their localities, trespassers on their land, theft and drugs.
ICMSA member John Bateman said threatening trespassers are going onto farms with a “total disregard to where they are on private property”.
“If you’re outside in your own field and you’re confronted by a gang of six or seven individuals, who are threatening, it’s a very lonely place to be as a farmer.
“If we make that 999 call, we should be able to expect a very quick response and this is not what we’re getting,” Bateman said.
Waterford farmer Willie O’Donoghue warned “there’s no gardaí within 17 miles of us”. “Two local stations, no one in the stations,” he said.
Other farmers said that the response of gardaí was so poor that they don’t bother to report minor thefts on their farms.
Despite this, Chief Superintendent Jones suggested farmers continue to report crime and contact their local crime prevention officer.