The amount of cattle reported stolen to gardai in 2013 has increased by a massive 124 per cent on 2012 figures.

Since 2012 431 cattle have been reported stolen to the gardai. The amount of cattle reported stolen in 2012 amounted to 133, however this pales in contrast to the 298 figure so far this year.

Monaghan is the county with the highest number of cattle thefts this year at 48. Limerick comes in second at 38 official reports.

Speaking on the issue in the recently Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said: “Any incident involving stolen cattle should be reported to the Garda Siochana in the first instance as the gardai have primary responsibility for investigating such matters.”

He noted: “The Agriculture Department through the Special Investigation Unit, will assist the gardai with their investigations into cases of stolen animals and this could involve liaison with cross border colleagues. In this regard, a cross-border liaison group comprising the SIU, Gardai and PSNI liaise and investigate the theft of livestock on an all-Ireland basis.”

The Minister stressed: “Stolen cattle cannot be traded legally in the State as all bovines must bear official ear tags, be properly registered and be located on this Department’s Animal Identification and Movement database in the herd of the individual moving or selling the bovine.”

He said: “When cattle are reported as stolen to the Agriculture Department, they are marked on the AIM database as being stolen on foot of a garda report. If these animals are presented anywhere in the State for sale, slaughter or export they are checked against the database and will be rejected at these outlets and an investigation initiated.”

A breakdown of the number of cattle reported as stolen since January 2012 on a county basis is set out in the following table:

County 2012 1 January-5 Dec 2013 Total
Carlow 1 1
Cavan 17 3 20
Clare 20 20
Cork 5 5
Donegal 19 10 29
Dublin 1 1
Galway 6 12 18
Kerry 7 10 17
Kildare 1 1
Kilkenny 2 2
Laois 6 31 37
Leitrim 10 10
Limerick 13 38 51
Longford 1 1
Louth 2 13 15
Mayo 9 34 43
Meath 5 33 38
Monaghan 13 48 61
Offaly 8 8
Roscommon 17 4 21
Sligo -4 4
Tipperary 6 4 10
Waterford 1 1
Westmeath 17 17
Overall Total 133 298 431