Farmers in rural Ireland are ‘living in fear’ of being targeted by thieves according to Mayo IFA Chairman, Padraig Joyce who called for suspects charged with theft not to be given bail.
Farms and farmhouses have become a target for thieves in recent months with a number of reports of items being stolen from farmyards and houses being burgled while people are away.
Padraig Joyce explained that the issue of rural crime was one of the first matters raised during branch meetings in December and is of real concern for farmers. The President of the IFA is to meet the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter to discuss the matter and said he will be calling on the Minister to make it harder to get bail.
“I will be calling on the President to ask the Minister to cut out the easy bail that these people are getting. That is where the problem lies. While the ordinary man is out at work trying to make a living, these people are targeting their homes,” he told The Mayo News. Mr Joyce said the farms were being targeted while the occupants were at Mass or at weddings.
“They are targeting farmers while they are out at Mass and it is causing a certain amount of fear in rural areas. I didn’t think it was as bad but every meeting I have been at from Glencorrib to Belmullet, rural crime is the one issue that is always raised under any other business. Trailers are being stolen and houses are being broken into with jewellery being stolen. It is at an epidemic stage now,” he said. One solution the IFA are looking at is the introduction of a texting system which will alert farmers of suspicious activity.
“We are looking to put this in place with the gardaí and if a suspicious vehicle is spotted in an area, a text will be sent out for people to keep a look out. Some solution needs to be drawn up in conjunction with the gardaí. We have not had a meeting yet with the gardaí but I know my colleagues in Galway has had a meeting with the gardaí and it is something I will be looking into in the future,” he said.
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