An overwhelming 80 percent of Irish farmers want the right to bear arms to protect themselves, their families, and their property.
In a survey conducted by the Irish Examiner and the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Irish farmers expressed their fear of crime on the rise and fewer police on the beat, IrishCentral.com reports.
The majority of farmers polled said they either slightly agreed or strongly agreed they should be allowed to own a gun. Only eight percent said they slightly disagreed, while only four percent answered with “strongly disagreed.”
Other statistics show support for gun ownership among farmers polled is lowest among those aged 35 to 44 and is highest amongst those over 65. Eighty-one percent of farmers under 35 said they should be allowed to own a gun for protection, according to the Irish Examiner.
Gun ownership and the right to defend property made national headlines in Ireland when a traveler, John “Frog” Ward was shot dead by Mayo farmer Padraig Nally.
Nally argued he acted in self-defense. He was convicted of manslaughter in 2005 but was later acquitted in a 2006 retrial.
At the root of the debate is the fact that the Irish farming community is looking to protect their property and families.
John Comer, president of ICMSA told RTE’s Morning Ireland he does not own a gun, but respected people’s right to own one. But he also believes that gun ownership was not the “remedy” farmers and people living in rural communities should opt for.
“The survey says 81 percent say they need a gun to protect themselves and their property,” he said. “It encapsulates the way people feel in the country in terms of vulnerability… you feel you have the right to protect your property—that is one side of the coin – but it is not the answer.”
John Bryan, president of the Irish Farmer’s Association said people are worried about criminal gangs, but more roaming police patrols could be the answer.
Sources: IrishCentral.com, TheJournal.ie