Both I and my Department met recently with representatives of the Irish Farming Association as part of on-going discussions regarding dog control issues in general and instances of sheep worrying in particular.
As a direct result of these discussions both my Department and the Irish Farmers Association issued press releases regarding the spate of serious dog attacks on sheep which occurred earlier in the year. I stressed the need for owners to take responsibility for their dogs, as this is the most effective way of ensuring that such attacks are avoided. These comments received significant nationwide media coverage.
My Department is joining with the Irish Farmers Association in the development of a local radio advertising campaign to highlight the issue of dog attacks on sheep. I expect this to air shortly to coincide with the main lambing season.
I will continue to work with the IFA and other responsible stakeholders on our shared aim of promoting responsible dog ownership and to reinforce the message that dogs should never be allowed to roam alone, especially at night and most especially during the lambing season.