Border criminals should be tagged, says head of Louth IFA

One farmer says those along the Border are close to taking the law into their own hands

Cattle farmer Michael McKenna, who lives and farms on the Cooley Peninsula, says he has been the victim of crime up to a dozen times in the past eight years. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

Cattle farmer Michael McKenna, who lives and farms on the Cooley Peninsula, says he has been the victim of crime up to a dozen times in the past eight years. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

 
Irish Farmers AssociationLouth

IFA county chairman Matthew McGreehan said many crimes in Border counties are being committed by people who are out on bail. “They need to be tagged to see where they are going,” he said.

Mr McGreehan welcomed the announcement that a new cross-Border taskforce is to be established to investigate organised crime on both sides of the Border.

Abscond

Mr McGreehan, who lives on the Cooley Peninsula, said farmers along the Border are on the verge of taking the law into their own hands to tackle burglaries and thefts.

“I have been talking to farmers who said will do all they have to do to protect what they own [and] they wouldn’t be violent men,” he said. “There are other men who are careful and see the dangers and would realise the thing to do would be to prevent it [rural crime] and to call for help straight away but definitely that is what will happen, people will take the law into their own hands and protect their property and you couldn’t blame them.”

Victim

Mr McKenna, who has been farming all his life on the Cooley Peninsula, said his house has been ransacked in the burglaries. He said he believes the culprits know the locality and use the Border to their advantage. He acknowledged that gardaí respond to the crimes but argued the only thing that will make a difference is people defending their property. Such action would “stop it for a while”, he said.

Mr McGreehan said the law must change “to put criminals away or to give extra resources to the gardaí or make sure the judges are doing their jobs”.

“If people are getting out on bail who are after committing a crime, something needs to be looked at there. I’d be of the opinion that if they are on bail they need to be tagged to see where they are going.”

He also called for tougher sentences to be introduced as a deterrent.