Limerick mayoral candidate claims farmers need more protection from trespassers

Independent mayoral candidate Frankie Daly.

INDEPENDENT candidate in the upcoming Limerick mayoral election, Cllr Frankie Daly, believes that existing laws protecting farmland are “toothless”.

Trespassers, particularly those with dogs, the City North representative said, should feel the full weight of the law if they trespass on a farmer’s land.

“A recent Farmer’s Journal survey revealed that almost 50 per cent of farmers cited trespassing as the main rural crime issue they are facing,” Cllr Daly said.

“At present, if a farmer catches someone on their land, there’s very little they can do about it. If they contact the Gardaí, they are told that officers can only intervene if there is a threat to commit a criminal offence or if criminal damage has been done.

“If I found someone in my back garden and I called the Gardaí, I assume that person would be arrested on suspicion of burglary — surely farmers should be afforded the same level of security,” he questioned.

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If elected, Cllr Daly says he will use the mayor’s advocacy powers to give Limerick farmers an extra layer of protection from Ireland’s criminal laws.

“Currently, trespassing is a civil wrong, which means that if a farmer wants to take action against a trespasser, the only recourse open to them is the civil courts – that’s not good enough,” he hit out.

“I recently met with a farmer who encountered two trespassers with dogs on his land. He approached them, fearing that they were looking for equipment to steal, and he ended up being violently assaulted.

“The Statute Book needs to be updated to give members of the Gardaí powers to arrest and charge people who trespass on farmers’ land. A farm is a place of work and needs to have the same legal protections as any business or factory.”

Of particular concern for farmers, Cllr Daly claimed, are trespassers hunting on their property with dogs.

“As mayor, I would immediately create a working group comprising the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Tte Gardaí, the Department of Agriculture, and Limerick City and County Council’s Dog Warden service so we can start tackling this issue,” he said.

“There has been a well-documented increase in illegal hunting taking place all over Ireland leading to worrying incidents of sheep worrying, loss of animals, and attacks on farmers. We also need to respect the mental health of our farmers who have enough to worry about in their industry, without having the fear of trespass, theft, and potential violence.”