IFA deputy president Richard Kennedy said that Garda figures released today showing a decrease in burglary figures still show that there is a rural crime issue in Ireland.

To tackle the issue, Kennedy has proposed that a rural crime taskforce needs to be established.

“We acknowledge that the gardaí have stepped up their efforts in targeting gangs operating in rural areas by increasing the number of patrols and checkpoints,” he said.

The culprits are moving with ease and without fear of detection

However, he pointed out the particular issue affecting rural crime in border counties.

The IFA and Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) have jointly called for the establishment of a specific taskforce for the area.

UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “Over the last year, several serious incidents have occurred on farms in the region.

“The culprits are moving with ease and without fear of detection on both sides of the border, while farmers and rural dwellers live in real fear for their safety, which is compounded by geographic and service isolation.

“Theft of valuables from rural homes and of livestock and machinery from farms is also a major concern.”

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