Sheep farmers in the Ardara area have lost lambs valued at an estimated €8,470 due to theft from mountain farms, the Donegal People’s Press/Donegal Democrat has learned.
The Blaine family who run sheep in the spectacular but isolated Glengesh area have had 46 lambs, valued at 70 euro each, stolen since June, while four other sheep farmers have, we understand, had 75 lambs stolen.
“Back in June my father told me he thought we were down lambs and we kept an eye on it, but now we have realised the problem is much more serious than we at first thought,” said Gary Blaine, who lives in Killybegs, but farms mountain land at Meenacurrin, Ardara.
“We should have 98 lambs but we only have 52 - that’s too many to lose to natural causes, so we now believe that they have been stolen and have contacted the gardaí,” he added.
“Based on an estimated value per lamb at 70 euro, that’s €3,220, that’s a big hit for any sheep farmer,” Gary added.
We understand that four other farmers have now lost 75 lambs between them, 23, 20, and 16 each from separate holdings.
Inspector Denis Joyce, at Ballyshannon Garda HQ, which covers the area, said they had received reports of sheep stealing in that area and they were investigating the allegations. “This is an ongoing investigation,” he said.
Glencolmcille based Dessie Cunningham, the IFA County Sheep Chairman, said he understood there was an incident and that gardaí were investigating. In general, he said, sheep rustling was not an issue, adding: “over the years you hear some stories about sheep being lost or stolen, but in general it hasn’t been a major issue.”
Pictured: One of the local farmers who has had lambs stolen in the picturesque Granny Glen area near Ardara points to land where the animals were stolen. Photo MattBritton.