IRL - the national network representing the interest of rural communities - is unsurprised by the latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures which show there were 420 crimes a month reported on farms throughout the country for the first six months of 2014.

According to Irish Rural Link’s Chief Executive Seamus Boland, “the figures are very serious. Crime statistics continue to rise and needs to be addressed by government. As the number of crimes continues to rise so does the fear among rural communities.”

He said that IRL continues to campaign for a modern rural policing system that protects rural communities, "especially the most isolated of its residents."

Boland also highlighted the need for greater co-ordination between communities and An Garda Síochana to reduce the risk of crime.

The breakdown of the figures for the first half of 2014 shows the theft of farming machinery and equipment was by far the most common crime perpetrated on Irish farms in that period, with 1,720 cases reported. There were also 218 vehicle thefts, 280 cases of non-aggravated burglaries, 261 diesel thefts, 48 livestock thefts, 6 thefts from persons and one case of aggravated burglary.

More recent statistics show that as of February 2015 there have been 35 cattle reported stolen in Ireland. Fifteen cattle were stolen from two farms in Cork over the course of week in January and a total of 146 cattle were stolen from farms in 2014 - this was down from 298 in 2013.

Between 2012 and 2014, it is estimated that 1,979 sheep were stolen from Irish farms.

Related stories

Monaghan man foils cattle theft