The ongoing issue of aggressive trespassers with dogs travelling over farmers’ land has been raised with the country’s top garda.
IFA president Joe Healy, deputy president Richard Kennedy, sat down with Commissioner Drew Harris on Monday. They were invited to the Phoenix Park by the former deputy chief constable of the PSNI.
Mr Kennedy pressed Comm Harris on a number of points including the unwelcome visitors who have plagued County Limerick land owners.
“It has been highlighted a lot in North Dublin but it is a countrywide problem. There are people travelling over land without permission with dogs and worrying livestock. When they are confronted by the farmer or landowner they are quite intimidating. We pressed that point with Comm Harris,” said Mr Kennedy, who also raised garda visibility in the countryside and extra resources.
“For the first time in a long time they are getting more resources in terms of manpower. We want guards to go out and meet the communities to build intelligence and build the confidence of rural people, so that rural people will feel that they have the guards’ backing,” said Mr Kennedy.
Farmers’ machinery and tools being stolen was also brought up but Mr Kennedy said farmers have to help too. If some small items are taken it is easy to say it is not worth bothering the gardai but the IFA deputy president said to report everything.
“You must let the gardai know. All property should be marked and photographed but we are not doing it. Someone asked at a meeting in Nenagh how many have their property marked and the percentage was very low. Guards are coming across a lot of stolen property but it can’t be claimed unless it is marked,” he explained.
Mr Kennedy said he and Mr Healy brought one suggestion to Comm Harris that they learned about from the UK.