IFA President Tim Cullinan has condemned the physical assault on a farmer in the Glenmalure Valley in Wicklow when walkers insisted that dogs be allowed access to the route.
Tim Cullinan said this was a disgraceful attack on a landowner who was one of the first in the country to allow an agreed access route across his lands over 15 years ago.
“The Mountaineering Council has come out strongly and condemned this attack and I want to acknowledge their support for Pat Dunne and his family,” he said.
Tim Cullinan said this type of incident is a serious setback for the relationship between landowners and recreational users. “Nobody can blame the farmer in question for closing off access when he’s subject to this kind of behaviour.”
The IFA President said the Dunne family had asked walkers not to bring dogs with them because of incidents involving attacks on sheep.
“Unfortunately, this appeal was not respected in this case and the situation escalated to the point where Pat Dunne was assaulted. While it was an isolated incident, it does nothing to further co-operation between landowners and recreational users,” he said.
IFA Sheep Chair Kevin Comiskey said IFA’s campaign No Dogs Allowed is now in its third year and we have to see action from the authorities.
He said this is a critical time of year on sheep farms as lambing is underway. Dog attacks are causing unimaginable suffering for sheep and lambs and huge economic losses for farmers.
He said dogs should not be allowed in or near farmland and he urged all dog owners to behave in a responsible way and adhere to this.