The Independent senator, says that thieves are taking advantage of farmers who are working hard trying to make the most of the good weather. He says that numerous farmers are now
waking up after a hard day’s graft only to find equipment, livestock and machinery taken from their farms. He said, “Official figures indicate that burglaries on farmland fell 14pc in 2016 on the
corresponding figure for 2015, but each week that passes this year there are news reports of farmers being robbed of their possessions. In the past few months, tractors have been stolen from
yards across the country, cattle and sheep rustled and vehicles and tools taken,”.
Mullen went onto mention the recent incidents of theft reported in the news, one being a quad bike and trailer both taken from a farm in Waterford, and others such as the story we brought you
the four mini ponies stolen in Leitrim, and also the story of the tractor stolen from a farm in Carlow.
Mr. Mullen said that new technologies are now being used by thieves, who can now scope out a farm without steeping foot on the land. He said “It has been claimed that drones are being used
to spy on farms, some of which are very easy targets if they are located near good road networks.
He added “This is why I would like the Minister to come to the House and outline what measures she is taking to protect farmers and what her Department is doing to prevent such crime from
taking place in the first place.”
Senator Mullen gave one reason for the rise in thefts saying that “The closure of rural Garda stations has been very difficult for communities around Ireland, as we all know, and has increased
the fears of those living on farms or in rural parishes.”
He explained that initiatives are now in place to help support farmers and to try and combat the problem, he stated “Last August, we had a major awareness campaign from the Garda
Síochána, the Irish Farmers' Association, DoneDeal and Crimestoppers to halt thefts on farms but crimes against farmers, as I have been saying, continue to happen on a frequent basis.’
He concluded by saying farmers are the one suffering loss of earnings, not just because of items and livestock taken but also as they have begun to offer rewards for the return of taken
machines/animals, “some farmers are potentially losing more money by offering cash rewards of thousands of euros in order to get their means of production back, while others are forced to
pay higher premiums for insurance,” he said.
Mr. Mullen has called for the Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, to make her plans to tackle this problem more transparent.