THE farming community of Ireland has rallied together to help a devastated couple who had 100 livestock stolen from their Co. Westmeath farm.
Kilbeggan farmers Niall and Christa Dillon lost 75 cattle and 25 sheep in what is being described as Ireland’s biggest ever livestock raid.
Since the incident, the couple have had hundreds of offers from farmers willing to donate a calf to them to help rebuild their herd.
Niall Dillon woke up early last Thursday morning and was going about his daily routine when he noticed the lock on the gate to his land was cut. On further investigation he discovered the theft.
The family contacted The Irish Farmers Journal immediately, in the hope that someone somewhere might have seen something suspicious.
Their appeal touched the hearts of many farmers around Ireland, who have since decided to help out.
It began when one man commented on the newspaper’s Facebook page.
“I would love to help this family and if there are seventy five other farmers that would give a calf each I will donate the first,” Donegal farmer Jim McLaughlin wrote.
“Let’s promote Irish farming for its good and show the world that good can come out of bad," he added.
Since he made his post on Monday afternoon (June 29), there have been hundreds of offers to help the Dillons - from people willing to donate a calf, to transport livestock to their farm or even give them the cash to buy new animals.
“I just can't believe such kindness and generosity. I want to thank you so sincerely,” Christa Dillon wrote to Mr McLaughlin. “I'm beyond words to express my gratitude - to you and to the thousands who are rowing in behind us. I have never been so proud to be in agriculture in Ireland.”
The Gardaí are still investigating the disappearance of the Dillons' livestock – but regardless of the outcome, it looks like the family will have a healthy and full herd once again.