Independent TD for Laois Offaly Carol Nolan has called on Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue to step up measures to effectively tackle livestock worrying.
Deputy Nolan was speaking after she engaged with several farmers who fear, despite repeated promises, that they will be left waiting a number of years for government to demonstrate its seriousness in addressing the devastating and distressing attacks that can leave farmers facing significant financial damage:
“Farmers tell me that they can almost set their watch to the annual ministerial press release on this issue, but yet when it comes to follow-up and enforcement, they are still waiting for change,” Deputy Nolan said.
“This is not just some fringe issue or an inevitable aspect of farming life; it is a relentless and yearly assault on the livelihoods of farmers and severe penalties need to be enacted to reflect that.”
“Both ministers accept that approximately 4,000 sheep are killed or seriously injured in dog attacks every year.”
“By any estimation that is an epidemic of violence being visited upon livestock and yet it goes on and on each and every year.”
“Farmers have had enough of the consolatory tone of ministerial press releases. They do not need any more expressions of ‘grave concern’ from Government. They need immediate action and a properly resourced enforcement regime that sends out of a zero-tolerance message on this issue,” Deputy Nolan concluded.