An anonymous survey being conducted by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association and Waterford Institute of Technology is hoped to lead to the creation of new rural crime prevention measures.
The ICSA is conducting the study in partnership with Kathleen Moore Walsh, law and criminology lecturer, WIT, and Louise Walsh, accounting and economics lecturer, WIT.
The survey invites farmers and rural dwellers to contribute data which could ultimately help combat agricultural crime.
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said: “The survey will be the first to look at the full implications of agriculture crime in Ireland. It will focus on losses in all areas of farm life, plus income and tax implications for victims.
“We know that not all agriculture crimes are reported. This much-needed study will provide valuable insights into the true nature, extent and implications of all agricultural crime.”
The survey will gather data on the type and level of agriculture crime nationally and the costs of crime to a farm business.
Meanwhile, a recent operation by gardaí led to the seizure of vehicles, trailers and farm equipment.
Gardaí made several arrests as part of an operation targeting burglaries and theft in rural areas of Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Carlow, and Kilkenny.
The Garda said it will continue to work with the main agricultural representative organisations, IFA and ICMSA, to raise awareness within the farming community and the wider Garda organisation on rural crime.
Mr Sherlock said he was alarmed at recent reports that a trusted visitor to a farm carrying out agricultural services has allegedly supplied insider information to criminal gangs intent on farm robberies.
“This news prompted a major discussion at last week’s ICSA national executive meeting, where the garda vetting of farm visitors was considered,” said Mr Sherlock.
“Accordingly, ICSA is to look further into the practicalities of this. In any event, farmers will be very concerned and it also should set off alarm bells for all businesses and Government agencies who regularly visit farms.
"Farmers need to be informed at the earliest date possible of such visits and which personnel were involved.”
The rural crime survey is on www.icsaireland.com, where responses are completely anonymous.
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