Donegal farmer offers €1,000 for information on missing sheep

A Donegal sheep farmer who has lost 34 sheep in at least two recent robberies is offering a €1,000 reward for their return or information leading to a conviction.

Eclan McGinty, of Clogher, Barnesmore, first noticed some of his sheep were missing in August and more have since gone missing.

“I noticed that the first sheep went back in August when I was collecting them for shearing. I had three out of four quiet ewes that I knew very well and when they didn’t come when I called I knew something was wrong.

“I had about 140 ewes on the hill and 15 were missing at that point.

“It’s not uncommon around here to have a few sheep go missing when you round them up and they’ll come back the next time because we’re in a huge hill country here and the sheep don’t check every week,” says Declan .

“Unfortunately, when I came back to collect them in late October/early November, I was missing another 19 that I shorn in August.

“The problem is that there are people who rustle sheep all the time and some people don’t even report it because when they get it very little is done. They get a small fine and it doesn’t stop them from doing it again.

“It’s hard enough as a farmer to make a living without it. It takes time and money to raise sheep and settle them in a certain area.

Declans Farm is on a quiet street with only a few houses nearby.

What makes the situation worse, he says, “is that the sheep were stolen at least twice, so the thieves came back.”

“I am offering a €1,000 reward for the return of the sheep or information leading to the prosecution of the thieves. They are absolute scum and must be held accountable for their actions.

“The Gardaí are involved but nothing has turned up at all and time is passing. I had high hopes at first that someone would come forward but we got nowhere.”

Farmers who lose even a sheep or two must report it to the Gardaí, says Brendan McLaughlin, Chair of the Donegal IFA.

“Farmers often lose a few sheep or cattle and never report it, but they have to do it. Every single animal that can’t be explained needs to be reported because thieves will steal a few here and a few there and add them all up.

“This is a serious offense and I think as farmers we need to be more aware of this type of theft and control our stocks more.

“This is a time when people could be short of cash just before Christmas and this brawl needs to be called out. Anyone with information on the subject, no matter how small, should go to the Gardaí immediately.

“It’s a huge financial loss for this farmer and I’ve heard from a few farmers in our area who also recently had livestock stolen.

People who farm common land need to be extra vigilant, Brendan says, while all farmers should make sure their farms are as safe as possible.

“I think for anyone in the commons there comes a point where they need a drone to monitor their livestock. It’s a shame

“It’s always local knowledge, it’s not strangers doing these things, it’s people who know the community, that’s my opinion.

“Farmers need to be vigilant and make sure their yards and gates are locked. My advice to people is not to do the same thing every day at the same time – be unpredictable so no one knows your schedule. Donegal farmer offers €1,000 for information on missing sheep

Fry Electronics Team

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