Public vigilance urged to tackle cattle rustling

Public vigilance is being sought to help curb an ongoing increase in cattle rustling north and south of the border.

Crimnal gangs’ activities are more prevelant along the border and in the North.

About 9,000 cattle have been stolen in the North over the past three years while the figure for the Repubic since January 1, 2012 is 550 out of a national herd of 6.9m animals.

The activities of the cattle rustlers ia causing serious concern and has led to an intensified crackdown by gardai, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and other agencies in recent weeks.

Fianna Fáil TD Seamus Kirk, who raised the issue in the Dáil, said cattle farmers in border counties, including Louth, Monaghan, and Armagh, have been severely affected.

“Many beef farmers are in dire financial circumstances because of the prices available for their produce over the past six months and longer.

“Now we have an added dimension whereby farmers who buy cattle at the mart find they are gone from the field the next day.

“It is costing tens of thousands of euro. In many instances the livestock were bought with bank loans.”

Mr Kirk said at least one and perhaps two illegal abattoirs have been located, but there must be more.

“We are speaking about thousands of top quality animals, not exclusively but in the main continental-style beef cattle, which have caught the eye of nefarious people.”

Mr Kirk said these livestock are disappearing off the face of the earth. Quite clearly they are going into illegal abattoirs because the traceability system established over a period of time is quite robust.

Minister of state Ann Phelan said that any incidents involving theft of livestock should be reported to the gardaí in the first place.

Ms Phelan outined the range of measures being taken at various levels to address the issue of stolen livestock including close liaison with the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland.


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