A Clare councilor was told that farmers sleep with loaded guns for fear of rural criminals.
Councilor Pat Burke revealed a farmer had told him he “loaded a shotgun at the head of the bed” at night to protect himself from intruders, while former councilor Bill Slattery warned there was another Padraig Nally scenario involving North Clare farmers “bullied and threatened”.
In December 2006, Mr Nally was acquitted by the Criminal Court of Appeal of the manslaughter of traveler John Ward, commuting an initial six-year prison sentence.
Mr Nally of Funshinagh Cross, Claremorris shot dead the father of 11 children on 14 October 2004 on his farm. In court, Mr Nally said he believed Mr Ward had been on his land to commit a burglary and confirmed he had been living in fear.
Councilor Burke recalled that there was a recent serious burglary at a shop in Whitegate where a man and his wife were alerted to four intruders making their way up the stairs at 2am.
They were confronted by the man at the top of the stairs demanding money but were refused and left empty handed apart from stealing a car which was later abandoned about a mile away before getting into another vehicle fled.
About a week later in Scariff, a man came home at around 4pm and found a number of intruders trying to commit a burglary and confronted them, but they left.
These criminals are said to have wielded hatchets in a menacing manner before leaving.
Two weeks earlier there had been two burglaries at unoccupied houses in Mountshannon and Whitegate, with attackers entering through a rear window and searching the homes.
“People are fed up with this,” said Mr. Burke. “Farmers work hard to buy a tank of diesel or tools. I have met farmers who have said, “We will not spare these guys if we meet them in our yard”.
“One man told me he loaded the shotgun at the head of the bed at night. There could be another incident involving Padraig Nally. The perception is that the Gardaí are not tracking enough when identifying car registrations.
“I know a real farmer who sold a car on Done Deal. He was paid with fake €50 and €100 bills.
“It was dark at night and he didn’t realize the money was fake until he got home and then the car was gone. He contacted the Gardaí about the fake money and they called him.
“This car was spotted by a friend of his in the North Clare area and immediately reported to the Gardaí. Nothing ever came of it. The question that arises is why are these criminals not brought to justice?”
Gardaí chiefs have consistently assured the public that any reported crime by Gardaí will be fully investigated before appropriate enforcement action is taken.
Figures from the Clare Garda Division have confirmed that the number of burglaries in the county rose 21 per cent from 104 in January to October 2021 to 126 for the same period in 2022.
Thefts from motor vehicles decreased 22 percent from 124 to 97, while thefts from shops increased 44 percent from 229 to 330 and other thefts increased 41 percent from 132 to 186 during the corresponding 10-month period.
However, Superintendent John Galvin told a recent Joint Policing Committee meeting that recent burglary numbers are actually lower than 2019.
Superintendent Galvin pointed out that the 2022 figures for shoplifting and other theft are also similar to 2019.
Former Councilman Bill Slattery has expressed concern over the allocation of Garda resources in Ennistymon following farm thefts and diesel robberies.
“Farmers will return to Padraig Nally’s situation. They are bullied and intimidated,” said Mr. Slattery.
“We don’t want to go back to Padraig Nally’s situation where farmers have to go out and get guns to protect their own property,” he said at the meeting.
Superintendent Galvin stressed that a Gardaí is on duty and patrolling Ennistymon 24 hours a day and said if anyone calls 999 they will get an answer.
https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/news/councillor-clare-farmers-sleeping-in-fear-with-loaded-shotguns-42195415.html Councilor: “Clare farmers sleep with loaded shotguns out of fear”