The law is against sheep farmers when it comes to dog attacks on sheep, the Wicklow Cheviot Sheep Owners Association told Wicklow County Council at a meeting in recent days.

Chair and vice-chair of the group, Pat Dunne and Peter Behan, told councillors that it is put on farmers to bring dog owners to court and many farmers don’t like to go down this route.

The association proposed that the council write to Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys to ask that a national database be put in place for all dogs.

The database would include information on microchipping and licensing. It also called for extra dog wardens, working flexible hours, be put in place to ensure there are dog wardens working at the weekends.

Coillte was also called on to develop its open access policy to include that dogs should be on leashes when out and about on Coillte property.


Speaking after the meeting, Cllr. Pat Kennedy said: “Sheep farming is an undervalued industry in Wicklow generating €23m.

"It needs to be taken seriously. If we had a company coming into the county with that turnover we’d be rolling out the red carpet for them," he said.

There are 155,209 breeding ewes in Wicklow with 233,000 lambs born every year making the county the fifth-largest in Ireland in terms of sheep numbers.