Cllr Antóin Watters
Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has called for cross-border co-operation to tackle a recent spate of ‘sheep rustling’ in the Omeath area.
According to Cllr Watters “a number of farmers have noticed some of their sheep livestock missing from the Omeath area.
The missing sheep came to light as farmers were taking their stock down from the mountain to mate with the rams.
Cllr Watters said: “I have been calling for the installation of barriers on the Turf Road in Omeath as it is a popular dumping area and easily accessed by large vehicles and I, along with several farmers, believe this road may have been used for the more sinister move of sheep rustling.”
Following contact from a number of farmers, Cllr Watters believes the number of sheep that are unaccounted for could be well over 60 and “that equates to €1,000’s of lost revenue for these farmers at a time when they can ill afford it.”
Cllr Watters has notified Gardaí and describes this as 2a huge blow to farmers".
He said: "Farmers cannot combat this alone and I am supporting previous calls by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) that there be greater co-operation north and south.
“We also need to look at the whole tagging of sheep.
“It is too easy to remove a tag and replace it with a different ‘flock number’.
"Tags consist of a ‘flock number’ and a sequential number and they are treated as ‘groupage’.
"Cows are treated more efficiently as they each have a passport type card which records their sex, breed, age and unique number all recorded on a database.
"We need to have something similar for sheep if we are to get serious about tackling this issue.”
Cllr Watters continued, in the meantime, “I have been on to Louth County Council again to place barriers on that road and I am asking anyone if they have seen a large vehicle, possibly a jeep and trailer around that area late at night or early in the morning to please contact Gardaí.
"Due to the nature of the crime it is hard to pinpoint an exact date when it could have happened but I am encouraging everyone to be more vigilant.”
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