Farmers have called for more 'experienced' gardaí to police rural Ireland and tougher treatment of criminals who raid farms.
Speaking at the launch of a new Winter Security Campaign, Irish Farmers Association President Joe Healy said the IFA has made a submission to the Policing Authority calling for more Garda resources in rural areas.
“Community based Gardaí are the most effective tool in policing a country like Ireland. The continued recruitment of new Garda members, and their allocation in rural areas, or the reallocation of experienced Gardaí to rural areas, will go a long way to restoring a sense of security to rural dwellers and build trust and confidence and sense of security in the community,” he said.
The level of repeat offences and the number of people who commit offences while on bail are very concerning, the IFA President continued.
“We need measures to address these issues including greater sentences and stricter outcomes for crimes against persons and property,” he said.
The issue of trespass on farms is a concern IFA is repeatedly hearing about from farmers around the country in recent months.
“These trespass incidents are very intimidating for farm families, who fear the intentions of trespassers as well as the damage they can cause to fencing, livestock and land. We have met with An Garda Siochana to discuss the issue and the need for stronger legislation on trespass, as well as greater enforcement of existing legislation,” said Mr Healy.
The IFA launched its new Winter Security campaign, in conjunction with An Garda Siochana, offering practical advice to address the crime concerns of farm families, as well as tips on how to improve security and protect property.
“This time of year, with limited light, it is particularly important to ensure your farm and home are as secure as they can be. Being proactive about your farm security will help to guard your farm and possessions, act as a deterrent to criminals, and give you extra peace of mind,” said Mr Healy.
Assistant Garda Commissioner Pat Leahy said: “An Garda Síochána is fully supportive of initiatives that prevent, deter and reduce farm related crime. The IFA Theft Stop and Secure Winter Initiative are excellent examples of effective Crime Prevention partnerships focused on making our communities safer.”
Essential crime prevention tips this winter
- Where possible, restrict access to your property by using gates, barriers, posts or fences
- Ensure that hedges, boundary walls and fences are properly maintained
- Make sure all areas of approach to gates, outbuildings and domestic dwellings are adequately provided for with motion detection lighting systems
- An monitored alarm system monitored will be of huge benefit in deterring crime
- Deploying a CCTV system for the farm and home this will act a great deterrent and provide real time information of activities
- Secure all tools and equipment in a lock up with an alarm, CCTV and lighting. Cash, jewellery and all personal items should also be placed in a secure or sealed (safe) area.
- Report any suspicious activity or any trespass to Gardaí, even if those that pass without incident.