A slow garda response to gangs of men with dogs threatening farmers may result in someone being harmed, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association has warned.

Farmers in Co Limerick say that they are increasingly faced with gangs of men trespassing and intimidating farmers on their own land.

"When men came on the land of one farmer, the gardaí were called five times, but there was no response for three and a half hours," John Bateman, Limerick county chairman of the ICMSA, said.

"The danger is that if this escalates, and gardaí are not reacting, someone is going to get hurt and no one wants that," he added.

The incidents generally involve men with dogs trespassing on a farmer's land, claiming that they are hunting hares.

Landowners are often forced to intervene when they are alone, making them more vulnerable.

The gangs then threaten them, and make abusive remarks.

"In the last four months, there have been four or five incidents in the Crecora, Croom, Bruff and Meanus areas," Mr Batemen said.

"It's escalating, and seems to involve organised groups."

He recounted one incident where a farmer confronted a gang, and was then intimidated by more men at his home.

"It's an ongoing problem. It's getting worse," he said.

In a statement, An Garda Síochána said they did respond to calls concerning a trespassing incident in a shorter time frame that suggested.

The statement added that they do not comment on specific incidents or interactions with third parties and that calls to regional control rooms are prioritised for service.

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Four weeks ago, while working on his farm in Co Limerick, Kieran Lillis was alerted by his neighbour about six men and dogs on the road near his holding.

It was not long before they were on his land, hunting hares and refusing to leave.

"I heard the cattle roaring, the cattle were going frantic and I asked them to leave and I was told to mind my own business and they could do what they like."

Mr Lillis said gardaí were called by him and a number of others but did not respond for over three hours, and other farmers in the area have dealt with similar incidents and threats.

"Its frightening, when your threatened and told 'We'll burn your haybarn down, we'll get you'. I could go on, there was an incident were one fellow was told he'd be drowned in the river," he said.

Pat McCormack, President of the ICMSA, said the garda response has to improve before these sort of situations escalate and lead to potential loss of life.

"We'd like to see the local garda station sent your call and there be a prompt return of your call because it can be an on the spot issue that could potentially escalate into a life or death situation," he said.