Offaly politician says farmers may be forced into using shotguns to protect land
Renua Ireland leader and Offaly County Councillor John Leahy has said, "a dangerous lack of clarity now surrounds the rights of land-owners to remove dangerous criminals and trespassers from their farms."
Cllr. Leahy warned, "such is the absence of legal certainty about their rights, farmers may, in the absence of appropriate legislation, be forced into serious self-defence measures such as being forced to resort to pitchforks and shotguns to defend their farms."
"Trespass laws need to be strengthened swiftly and brought into the criminal framework," he added.
"Currently, if farmers identify people trespassing on their land, they cannot avail of the criminal law or call the Gardai unless there is an actual threat or criminal damage has been done."
"This is not good enough within a current scenario where farmers are being haunted and stalked on their own land by thieves and rustlers," Leahy continued.
"Trespass is no longer about stealing apples or shooting rabbits. It is used as a highly sophisticated surveillance tool by recidivist criminal gangs. In Dublin, such an individual hanging around someone's back garden would be arrested immediately."
"By contrast, a completely different and inevitably inferior standard applies to rural Ireland. Civil courts are utterly ineffectual in dealing with farmer concerns over trespass."
"The government must move swiftly to resolve this gap before farmers move to more traditional methods to defend their property," John concluded.