€10,000 reward offered for information on sheep rustlers

A financial reward is available to identify sheep rustlers after a livestock theft on the hillsides of the Comeragh Mountains in west Waterford writes Christy Parker .

Gardaí in Dungarvan are conducting “a full investigation” after 20 sheep, all in-lamb, were stolen in the Nire Valley/Comeragh Mountains region.

The sheep were part of a flock of about 275 sheep belonging to a local family. The loss in terms of breeding and vaccinations alone would amount to several thousand euro.

The family, who wish to remain anonymous, are deeply upset by the theft. It was the third time in four years they had been targeted.

“We lost 110 sheep in 2013, another 50 in 2014 and now this,” said a family member. “It’s absolutely scandalous.”

Thousands of sheep graze on the vast hillsides of the scenic Comeraghs but easily accessible routes make the animals vulnerable to rustlers day and night.

“I’d be surprised if there are any farmers who have not lost sheep at some stage,” said a family member.

The sheep are Blackface Ewes and Cheviots, with a distinct red raddle mark across their shoulder. They are also ear tagged in accordance with the national Sheep Identification system.

Last year, the IFA and Crimestoppers launched a joint ongoing programme to tackle the rising levels of livestock theft across the country.

IFA sheep chairman John Lynskny said the scheme offers a €10,000 reward for significant information leading to the arrest and charge of individuals in connection with livestock theft.

He said raids not only causes financial loss but also “inflicts trauma on families and leaves them very vulnerable and stressed”.

This article first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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