Home defence legislation vital in tackling rural crime

IFA Deputy President & Countryside Spokesman Eddie Downey has said rural dwellers will welcome the introduction of the Defence and the Dwelling Act by Justice Minister Alan Shatter, which allows homeowners to defend themselves from burglars.

IFA Deputy President & Countryside Spokesman Eddie Downey has said rural dwellers will welcome the introduction of the Defence and the Dwelling Act by Justice Minister Alan Shatter, which allows homeowners to defend themselves from burglars.

He remarked, “The Act provides an important assurance for homeowners of their rights in protecting themselves, their families and their property. In particular, the definition of reasonable force is a necessary defence for homeowners who come under attack from intruders.”

“The most recent CSO data published shows that over 100,000 burglaries and thefts took place in 2011, with burglaries increasing by almost 9% in recent months.

“This reflects reality on the ground, with farmers regularly reporting robberies of agricultural machinery and farm equipment.”

Mr Downey has called on the Minister for Justice to continue the fight against rural crime by establishing a Rural Forum, made up of representatives of An Garda Síochána and community groups.

He said the forum he Forum must deliver the three key proposals.

The first proposal is for a scrap-metal compliance scheme must be developed, which monitors the purchase and re-sale of scrap metal. He said this would ensure that only legitimate products are traded and will reduce the risk of theft of metal from farmyards and out-farm.

Mr Downey also called for the Seniors Alert scheme which provides financial support for the use of personal pendant alarms by elderly people be extended to cover the installation of house alarms.

He noted that the Community Alert programme, as operated by Muintir na Tíre should be re-invigorated and the National Crime Council should be re-established.