Landowners must protect their properties “regardless of what Drew Harris says”, a farmer has insisted.
The Garda Commissioner has urged farmers “not to take the law into their own hands”.
It is advice that Willie O’Donoghue feels farmers would take more seriously if An Garda Síochána had more of a presence in rural Ireland.
“It’s very easy for Drew Harris to come out and say that when he sits in a nice, comfortable office but farm owners are land owners out in the sticks,” Mr O’Donoghue told Lunchtime Live.
“[There’s] no Garda response when you ring them or you’re waiting for them to come for half an hour.
“And yet the thugs are running rife; they’re either stealing your property or doing some sort of damage.
“We need an actual police force out there that will respond within a reasonable time in the country.”
Mr O’Donoghue says he feels “safe enough” on his own property but his nearest Garda station is 17 miles away and the force is often thinly stretched.
“If someone comes in and you ring the Gardaí… they might not have a car to come out, there might not be anyone there and if they’re there it could take them half an hour to come.”
He added that numerous farmers of his acquaintance in Waterford have had livestock and machinery stolen.
“Farmers are going to have to protect their properties regardless of what Drew Harris says,” he said.
“If those thugs come out and think that farmers are going to sit back and leave them do what they like, they’ve another thing coming… If Drew Harris doesn’t like it, he needs to get up off his backside and put police out in the rural areas.
“There’s no good having Gardaí around the big towns, they need to be out around the country as well.”
Main image: Garda Commissioner Drew Harris speaking to the media outside Tullamore Garda station. Picture by: Stephen Murphy