A farmer who was brutally attacked in south Co Tipperary has told the Irish Farmers Journal that he is lucky to be alive following the incident.
On the night of Friday 30 September, the tillage farmer from Kilmore, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, approached a pair of men who were lingering around the road outside his farm.
One man was driving a car and the other was standing in the ditch with a torch used for lamping, shining it into the field and into a neighbour’s house. The man, despite having a hunting lamp in his hand, did not have a dog accompanying him, the farmer said.
The 41-year-old farmer, who wishes to remain anonymous, approached the men to ask them to move along and was viciously attacked by the driver of the car soon after confronting them.
"I was driving home, back to the farm, at about half nine or 10 o'clock on the night and came across the gang. I got out to confront them to tell them to move on and I was struck from behind with an object and kicked and beaten after that," he said.
The two men left soon after the attack, as the farmer said they were panicked in case someone would drive down the road and see what was going on.
"I'm lucky it didn't happen inside in the farm, I probably wouldn't be here today if it did," he said.
The farmer, who ended up in hospital, suffered broken ribs and lacerations to his head and face.
At the same time, there had been several incidents of thefts and trespassing in both farms and houses in rural areas around Clonmel.
"There were a lot of robberies around that date and people were getting sick and tired of them.
"They're going around shining lights in windows trying to provoke and intimidate people," the farmer told the Irish Farmers Journal.
Criminal activity in Clonmel, he said, has become increasingly worse in recent times.
"There's videos going around there of people fighting on the streets and dealing drugs on the street in the middle of the day; it's wicked in there," he said.
"The gardaí got some people into custody there a few weeks ago and I was supposed to go in and identify them in a line up, but they refused to do a line-up and were released again," he said.
Despite the farmer saying he was disappointed that the victims couldn't all be identified, he said the gardaí can "only do so much".
"They are still investigating and I did pick out one of them on the night so it's just a matter of charging them. That's all I'm waiting for and hoping for," he said.
He said that these same people had been into his farm previously and robbed tools and diesel, he claimed.