A Kerry councillor says people are entitled to protect their animals and property with a gun.
Councillor Michael Cahill was speaking following a Kerry Joint Policing Committee meeting earlier today, where the issue of cattle, sheep and farm machinery thefts was raised by several members.
Councillor Cahill says he’s aware of farmers who want to get guns to protect their holdings.
Rossbeigh Fianna Fáil councillor Michael Cahill told the Kerry Joint Policing Committee meeting today he’s aware of elderly farmers looking at buying a gun for the first time.
He said farmers aren’t sleeping at night as they fear roaming gangs will steal their livestock.
He says while he’s not suggesting farmers get guns to protect their animals, he can’t condemn people thinking of doing this.
Kerry Chief Superintendent Padraic Powell assured the meeting there were no roaming gangs, and noted farmers should only have firearms for hunting, not for defending their property.
He said if it came to the Gardaí’s attention that this was a person’s intention, they would be refused a firearms licence.
The Chief Superintendent noted anyone with concerns about their property should contact Gardaí.
Community representative on the Joint Policing Committee, Sean Roche, also raised the issue of cattle and sheep thefts, saying it’s up 200% in the last year.
He said farmers are worried, the crime is getting more prevalent, and he would like a task force set up to thoroughly investigate where the thieves are coming from.
Councillor Breandán Fitzgerald noted that the theft of farm machinery was also an issue.
Gardaí urged people to use the An Garda Síochana property app, where they can store important information on valuable items, and should the item be stolen, this information can then be passed onto Gardaí.