An attack on a farmer in south Tipperary last month has led to local farmers calling for more Garda action on rural crime.
Almost five hundred people attended a major public meeting last Thursday at Moyle Rovers GAA Club where residents expressed their fury over the unprovoked attack which occurred in Kilmore, Clonmel, Co Tipperary.
People from Powerstown and Lisronagh, Clonmel alleged they have been the subject of violent criminal behaviour which has increased in severity and frequency over the past few weeks.
At the meeting, former Tipperary footballer Derry Foley said: “I am tired of being intimidated by a gang of marauding thugs who have continued to harass and bully every single person in this hall on some occasion over the past 20 years.
"There’s a probability that if you drove down the quay with a machete in your car and a bag of cocaine in the back you wouldn’t be arrested. But if you had no tax, no MOT or no NCT by God you would be.”
The Irish Farmers Journal spoke to a number of farmers and rural dwellers who have been affected by rural crime in recent times.
Alex Sheehan, Clonmel
“We had a quad stolen just two weeks ago. It was locked into the cubicle shed, they pulled out the ignition and hot-wired it, we could see the tracks of where the wheels were spinning.
"Luckily, we got it back, it was abandoned in a ditch. Since that incident every area has been hounded by these people trespassing and even shining lights in windows in the middle of the night.
"They ran cattle through wire on my neighbour’s farm on Tuesday night and one of the cattle ended up breaking its leg. We need more manpower in the area. One night they were out with us there was just one patrol car between Clonmel, Fethard and Mullinahone which is a huge area to cover.”
Francis Burke, Thurles
“There seems to be a law for us and none for them. About six years ago we were having the same issues in our locality. There was eight farm yards robbed of machinery that was never recovered.
“We came down from Thurles to support the lads here. The only way forward is to meet the chief superintendent with all the superintendents around the area.
"They are just lacking resources to be honest. I’ve spoken to public health nurses in this area who said there are elderly people who are afraid to open the door to them.”
Pat Carroll, south Tipperary IFA chair
“From an IFA point of view, we would completely condemn this attack on a fellow farmer. The effect on the victim, the family and even the local community is huge.
“The amount of people that have rang us who are so concerned. Another real big problem is the chasing of livestock and the opening of gates and handles.
Farmers come out in the morning and their stock is after being run through wire. It’s an animal welfare issue amongst other things.
“There’s a fear coming out every morning, the farmer doesn’t know where his stock is going to be.”