All Meathmen in Louth must be microchipped and registered under new regulations which come into force on Friday, 1 April. Louth County Council will be performing spot checks in Drogheda and Gardaí with chipping guns and scanners have established roadblocks in the area.
The pilot scheme is being tested in Louth in tandem with new dog microchipping laws with a view to rolling out the initiative in other counties affected by Meath – Cavan, Westmeath, Dublin, Kildare, Offaly and Monaghan.
The population of Meath at the last census was 184,135. However, that includes large colonies of Dublin’s criminal classes (Ratoath, Dubleek) and their resulting mongrel offspring. It also fails to take into account large swathes of east Meath who, like their elders, were born in the Lourdes Hostapil in Drogheda but claim Meathness. Legislation prohibiting hospitals in the Royal County was only lifted by a bureaucratic oversight in the 1960s. As a result, less Royals were born in fields, streams and on Bettystown beach.
The scheme requires that any Meathman entering Louth be microchipped and registered on a recognised database. Anyone found in the company of an unchipped Meathman is liable for prosecution, though some sympathetic judges have indicated that counselling and a stint in the Betty Bell Clinic will be applied on a case by case basis.
There are three authorised databases by which ‘Royals’ can be registered: Animeath, Ath-a-boy and the Irish Kennel Club.
Speaking for the first time since his election in 2014, Drogheda’s Fine Gael councillor Richie Culhane said “the penalty for being caught with an unchipped Meathman is that you can be brought to court, you can be fined up to €5,000.”
A fierce proponent of the scheme, Culhane encouraged anyone from Louth in a relationship with somebody from Meath, to book them in for a chipping as soon as possible, or if that is a non-runner, to chip them while they sleep.
Culhane said that “across the board” the process costs €15-20.
The scheme has drawn criticism from several human rights groups but once the historical situation was explained to them they got on board. It should act as a deterrent for those who come into Drogheda aggressively wearing Kepak jerseys during All Ireland season. Community groups are hopeful that it will also assist in identifying bands of wandering Meathmen that pose a threat to livestock or people.