Shotguns make up the vast majority of more than 100 firearms stolen in Laois Offaly over the past five years, according to official figures.
Garda statistics on weapon theft published in the Dáil show that of the weapons and amunition stolen since 2010, a total of 90 were guns that could be used as weapons. Of these 70 were shotguns. The ranged in type from double barrel, pump action, single barrel and under and over.
Given the tradition of farmers owning guns, Laois IFA chairman Pat Hennessy said many of the firearms were likely to have been stolen from farms.
While he said the guns were just another item stolen for their cash value, he said there is also the possibilty that guns are stonlen for to order.
The IFA man said guns are just one of many items on farms what make farmers a target from thieves. He said the existence of machinery, fuel and other items makes farmers a regular target. Thieves he said will “just lift anything from farms”.
He said farmers may also keep guns for their own protection in the event of a theft but he said it would be another matter to actually use one.
Mr Hennessy said it had been tradition for farmers to keep guns inside the backdoor but the law is now that firearms should be kept in a secure place which is also the IFA advice.
The Laois IFA chairman said weapon theft from farms was more frequent during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Apart from shotguns most of the other weapons stolen were rifles. A small number of imitation and blank firing guns were also robbed.
Nationally 1,710 firearms were stolen between 2010 and 2014 according to the Garda Pulse figures provided to the justice minister.
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