Limerick farmers told not to confront trespassers

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Emmett O'Brien, Independent. Photo: Cian Reinhardt

WEST Limerick farmers are being warned not to confront “roving bandits” trespassing on lands and illegally hunting hares.

The issue “that has been going on for years”, is causing damage to property by men with dogs who are acting in a reckless manner, a county Limerick farmer has claimed.

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The man, who did not wish to be named, said there are groups trespassing despite the presence of signs stating “no hunting or shooting”.

Independent councillor Emmett O’Brien said that he has also been made aware of the issue. He said that “roving gangs of men and youths usually with lurchers hunting rabbits in the middle of the night are not met with the same welcome as local harrier packs are during winter”.

Cllr O’Brien said that seeing harrier packs is not unusual and something he would encourage as “they operate with the advance knowledge and cooperation of local farmers.”

“These roving gangs rarely if ever have permission to cross land and everyone knows that hares and rabbits are not their prime objective. I would encourage farmers to contact their local Gardaí if there are any unauthorised people accessing their lands”

This was also the advice of the local farmer who said that with the fear of rural burglaries, the trespassers could be “scouting the place as well.”

“Roving bandits is all they are. They act in a reckless manner. They could be bringing disease onto my land. They don’t care. I just want to warn farmers that they were out in west Limerick on Sunday and to keep an eye out”.

He said that hares on the land would be a regular sight but there were none last Monday and added that he would be installing cameras near his land “to catch them in the act,” he said.

Senior representatives from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) have been pressing Garda Commissioner Drew Harris on the issue as several incidents of intimidation have been highlighted.

Bruff District Garda superintendent Brian Sugrue urged anyone witnessing suspicious or illegal activity on farmlands to contact them immediately and not to approach those involved.