Members of the National Farmers' Association are mounting vigilante patrols along the border in a bid to combat pig smuggling.

According to Paddy McArdle who owns a shop near Dundalk in County Louth, the illegal transport of pigs across the border usually starts from a farm that has land on both sides of the border.

The pigs are dropped in a shed on the northern side, are transferred along a covered passage to the south and reloaded onto southern lorries.

Customs officials know who is involved in the racket but they cannot go into the passages and prove the pigs that go in are the same as the ones that come out.

It is estimated that between 4,000 and 6,000 pigs a week are being illegally transported across the border and the activity provides a tidy tax free addition to a weekly wage.

It is the non smuggling pig farmer who feels himself hard hit by the profiteering of the few.

National Farmers’ Association (NFA) men from the area have set up vigilante patrols and are building up dossiers on suspects to give to customs officials. 

The vigilantes have no legal ability to stop suspect lorries, but follow them to find out who is involved and the factories handling the smuggled pigs so they can report back to officials.

It is believed there are twelve major gig smugglers along the border and locals in Louth say they know of four of them. The smugglers have farms in towns such as Dundalk, and Carrickmacross in County Monaghan.

One man feels it is his duty to expose the racket as it undermines the whole pig industry. He says a small number are involved but he knows who they are and he recognises their lorries.

Vigilantes suspect farm owner Patrick Murphy and his brothers and helpers are carrying out an illegal run. They block the road to his farm. The suspects are angry but none of them are prepared to make a comment on why they were singled out and stopped by the vigilantes.

A 'Seven Days' report broadcast on 28 October 1969. The reporter is Rodney Rice.