Animal Voice, Autumn/Winter 2005
Bishops don't condone priests blessing hunts
The Irish Bishops' Conference have announced that they do not condone the blessing of hunts by members of the clergy.
A letter to ICABS from Executive Secretary, Reverend Aidan O'Boyle, confirmed that the "involvement of some members of the clergy in blood sports" had been discussed in recent times by the bishops at their quarterly meetings in Maynooth.
However, while stressing that the Bishops' Conference "would not condone the practice of priests blessing foxhunts", he indicated that it was an issue to be dealt with locally.
"The Bishops' Conference is of the view that the practice of priests blessing foxhunts, and indeed the regulation of access to Church land for hunts, is a matter for the local diocese where these practices are happening," he wrote.
ICABS welcomes the bishops' condemnation of hunt blessings and hope that the individual bishops which make up the Conference will act at a local level to prevent further such blessings.
We will continue to press the Catholic authorities to unequivocally denounce blood sports and to prevent priests from partaking in these cruel activities.
A small minority of priests around Ireland continue to flout the Catechism of the Catholic Church by supporting or partaking in foxhunting and hare coursing activities. According to paragraph 2418 of the Catechism, "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly."
Paragraph 2416 states the following: "Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals."
Please contact Reverend O'Boyle to express your approval of the Irish Bishops' condemnation of hunt blessings. Ask him to convey to the bishops that the time has now come for the Church to join the call for a ban on blood sports in Ireland. Quote paragraphs 2416 and 2418 of the Catholic Catechism.
Reverend Aidan O'Boyle
Irish Bishops' Conference
Maynooth, Co Kildare.
Tel: +353 (0)1-505 3020
Fax: +353 (0)1-629 2360
Injured deer chased by "thugs in jeeps"
A Kildare woman was so shocked at seeing a deer being chased by "thugs in their jeeps" that she contacted the Gardai and followed this up by giving an on-air description of the incident on local CKR Radio.
ICABS made contact with the woman and she forwarded us the following account of what she witnessed: "While driving home in early February on the road from Summerhill to Kilcock, I was shocked at the sight of what I met - a beautiful, fully grown deer being chased by a convoy of thugs in their jeeps.
"The deer's back was all torn and it was terrified. The jeeps were followed by a hunt and a pack of dogs. What a sight on a main road in front of children. I try and teach my children to be kind to animals and now my grandchildren will be taught the same."
Another disturbing deerhunt-related incident was brought to our attention the following month. A caller left a message on the office answering machine, alleging that during a hunt in Kilmessan in March, a terrified deer attempted to jump a wall to evade capture, fell back off it and broke its neck.
ICABS sent both of these reports to Minister Dick Roche, who licenses deerhunting with dogs, and also to Agriculture Minister, Mary Coughlan, who is responsible for animal welfare legislation.
Hares under threat: Westmeath Council
A leaflet published by the Westmeath County Council has labelled the Irish hare as a threatened species in Ireland.
The "Biodiversity & Development in County Westmeath" leaflet states that "species of fauna whose population is under threat include the Irish Hare and the Corncrake."
The leaflet was jointly published by the County Council, Westmeath County Heritage Forum and The Heritage Council. A copy can be downloaded from: www.heritagecouncil.ie/local/Westmeath_Householders.pdf
Mounted hunters must now have horse passports
All horses and ponies must now be accompanied by an identity passport before they can be moved. The recently introduced European Communities (Equine Stud-book and Competition) Regulations 2004 compel the owners of such animals to have the document in their possession before transporting them from their premises.
The regulations mean that every horse used by Irish hunts will have to be registered at a cost of between 35 and 50 Euro.
An article in the Irish Horse section of the Farmers Journal explained that horses without the passports will be breaking the law.
"The hunting fraternity will have to ensure that all hunters have passports as the followers could be in a very vulnerable position," the article stated. "They could find themselves, without a passport, in a public place illegally and should a serious accident occur, the insurance company could have a great excuse for not settling a claim."
If you suspect hunt participants are not in possession of an identity passport for their horses, please notify the Gardai immediately.
According to section 12 of the regulations, an officer appointed by the Minister for Agriculture "may, if accompanied by a member of the Garda Siochana in uniform, stop any vehicle which he or she reasonably suspects to contain a horse, identification document, stud-book or part of a stud-book or any article, book, document or other record associated with an identification document or a stud-book maintained by an approved body".
"Where an authorised officer finds or comes into possession of any article, book, document or other record which he or she reasonably believes to be evidence of the commission of an offence under these Regulations, he or she may seize it and detain it for use in evidence in a prosecution under these Regulations," it adds.
Those who are caught committing an offence under the regulations are liable to an on-the-spot fine of €100 or up to €3,000 if convicted.
Toyota urged to scrap another offensive ad
Toyota Ireland was urged in April to scrap a radio advertisement which described cats as disgusting.
The ad for the company's Corolla car revolved around two women discussing their likes and dislikes. One of statements made by them is: "cats are disgusting."
ICABS contacted Toyota to complain about the advert. We expressed our disgust that this unnecessary slur on cats was allowed to be included in the ad and that it was offensive to the thousands of cat owners around Ireland. Toyota, however, said they had no plans to stop using it.
Sadly, this is not the first time ICABS has had to contact Toyota about its adverts. In 1998, the company was urged to withdraw a TV ad in which a Starlet car assumed the role of a matador and confronted a bull in an arena.
Please make a complaint to Toyota and ask them to refrain from using anti-animal themes in future advertising campaigns.
Toyota Motor Centre
Customer Relations Dept
Merrion Road, Dublin 4.
Tel: 01 4190222
KSPCA alerted to coursing sponsorship
An animal welfare group due to benefit from a Boylesports-sponsored fund-raiser has been told that the company is a coursing supporter.
An advert in the Irish Field newspaper in March outlined that proceeds from the "Cheltenham Preview Evening" were to go to the Kildare SPCA.
Those who purchased tickets for the event would be entered into a prize draw, the advert stated. Among the prizes on offer were "free bets from Boylesports".
In our correspondence to the KSPCA, we detailed how "Boylesports is one of the handful of remaining companies in Ireland who shamelessly sponsor hare coursing." The company also accepts bets on coursing and has publicised coursing results on its website.
This is the not the first fund-raising-related controversy connected to the KSPCA. In 1999, we highlighted how a letter sent by the group to local supporters in a bid to secure donations, stressed that the KSPCA was "not against field sports".
We understand that, at the time, steps were taken to discipline and possibly disaffiliate the branch on the grounds that it was contravening the part of the ISPCA constitution which states that member societies must adhere to official policies about the use of animals in sport and entertainment.
Garda investigation into missing hares
Who are the culprits - coursers or fence-cutting vandals?
According to a report obtained by ICABS under the Freedom of Information Act, Gardai were called in to investigate criminal damage and the disappearance of a large number of hares from the coursing compound in East Donegal in November of last year, following a coursing meeting.
The report stated that the Conservation Ranger and the Licensing Section of the National Parks & Wildlife Service had received "several anonymous calls in November alleging that the hares to be used by the East Donegal club had come from a meeting in Limerick."
The Conservation Rangers had arranged with the club to monitor the release of hares after the meeting, but when they arrived at the coursing compound, they noticed that the fence had been cut and a large number of hares were missing. They gathered up the remaining 21 hares, and noted two dead hares along the fence. The club had 73 hares in its possession at the beginning of the three day event, according to the rangers.
"I am aware that NPWS have had difficulties with this club in the past," stated the ranger. The club are claiming the incident was "vandalism and criminal damage", but the ranger raised the possibility that the hares may have been ear-marked for further use at a future coursing meeting.
Ranger rescues leverets from coursers
Sixteen leverets found in a coursing compound in Co Offaly were rescued by a National Parks and Wildlife Service conservation ranger. ICABS learned of the ranger's laudable action from documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The very young leverets were found last October while the ranger was counting hares held by the Edenderry Coursing Club.
Their presence in the enclosure indicates that pregnant hares were netted from the wild and gave birth while in captivity.
The fact that pregnant hares are among the thousands netted by coursers every year can be explained by the fact that Irish hares are known to give birth in at least 11 months of the year. With a gestation period of 52 days, any female over the age of one year may be pregnant or nursing at virtually any time of the year.
Given that the Edenderry club started with around 70 hares and ran 104 courses over their two day meeting, it is possible that some or all of the nursing mothers were used as lures at this meeting.
This incident points to another reason why the taking of hares from the wild for coursing should be banned.
Netting pregnant hares and nursing females (whose leverets will almost certainly die when left behind to fend for themselves) is cruel and inhumane. There is no doubt that both contribute to the decline in the hare population.
According to NPWS records, three hares died at the Edenderry meeting after being hit by greyhounds. As for the leverets, we understand that they were brought to a wildlife sanctuary by the ranger.
Hunters to benefit from Stena's ferry discount
Hunters affected by the British blood sports ban may be among those to benefit from a ferry company discount. Stena Line, which operates five ferry routes from the UK to Ireland, is currently offering members of the Countryside Alliance a 10 per cent discount.
Countryside Alliance campaigns for the continuance of "country sports" which, they state, are "central to our vision for a sustainable countryside". Among those on the board of Countryside Alliance Ireland is Jerry Desmond of the Irish Coursing Club.
In a letter to Stena's head office in Sweden, ICABS expressed our objection to this discount. We also asked what their policy is in relation to hare coursing, foxhunting and other cruel pursuits.
"These activities are now illegal in England, Scotland and Wales," we stated. "Stena Line's discount could act as an incentive for those involved in blood sports to travel to Ireland where they unfortunately remain legal."
We added that since the majority of Irish people are opposed to blood sports, it is very probable that a majority of the company's Irish-based customers would also object to the discount.
In a reply from the company's Dun Laoghaire office in August, Communications & PR Manager, Eamonn Hewitt stated:
"To my knowledge none of the pursuits [which CA are involved in] are illegal in Ireland...In no way do we condone cruelty to animals nor do we see our offer to Countryside Alliance as support or subsidisation of blood sports."
Please ask Stena to stop offering discounts which could encourage hunters to come to Ireland to kill our wildlife.
Stena Line, Head office
SE-405 19 Goteborg
Tel: +46(0)31 85 81 80
Fax: +465 (0)31 24 10 38
Eamonn Hewitt, PR Manager
Stena Line, The Ferry Terminal
Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.
Tel: 01-2047617 Fax: 01-2047630
Thousands of UK coursers set sights on Irish hares
As if hares aren't under enough pressure from existing hunting and coursing activities, things could get even worse for the species.
With coursing stopped in Northern Ireland and banned in the rest of the UK, coursers from outside the Republic have announced their intention to travel here to terrorise Irish hares.
Last season, Northern coursers prohibited from catching hares were able to continue their coursing by simply hopping over the border to join forces with clubs in Cavan and Donegal. Now, according to a Sunday Times report, thousands of British coursing enthusiasts are looking to Irish events.
A spokesperson for the National Coursing Club in England was reported as saying that "there is a long tradition of English going to Ireland and vice versa, but with the ban there will certainly be greater interest."
"Ireland is the only other country which has a coursing tradition similar to here, particularly open coursing in Co Cork," he added.
Thank you to politicians
ICABS wishes to thank all the politicians who have helped us with the campaign over the past year.
TDs, Senators, MEPs and Councillors from all political parties are among those who have joined us in our bid to try and persuade the government to rid Ireland of blood sport cruelty.
We thank them for their valuable help and look forward to their continued support in the months ahead.
U-turn on "bad animal husbandry" response
In the last edition of Animal Voice, we reported how 40 hares died following a coursing meeting in New Ross in 2003, with a veterinary surgeon citing stress as the cause.
"Under the influence of stress, the hare's immune system is compromised," stated veterinary surgeon, Peter Murphy, in a letter to the National Parks & Wildlife Service. "Hares being normally solitary animals are significantly stressed when corralled and coursed, and this combination of circumstances has resulted in the deaths in this case."
The death of the hares led to the NPWS Regional Manager for the New Ross area, Eamonn Meskell, recommending that the Wexford & District Coursing club should be excluded from holding a meeting in December 2004.
In a memo to the National Director of the NPWS, Dr Alan Craig, he stated that "it appears that in this instance bad animal husbandry was displayed." It was subsequently decided that this club should be refused a licence by the NPWS and they were advised accordingly.
However, the club appealed the decision, and Dr Craig relented, agreeing to a scaled down event. He was, he said, "satisfied that the very uniqueness of the outcome (ie the deaths of 40 hares) meant that it could not have been predicted".
But what must have been clear to all and sundry is that hares were sick over the 2 day coursing meeting, with the Conservation Ranger who monitored the event stating that "it was obvious that the hares were not in good condition."
He recorded that eleven hares were hit by dogs on the first day of coursing with six dead the following morning. The next day it was the same, with hares "not willing" to run and four being hit by the dogs.
It seems abundantly clear to ICABS that it was observed on day 1 that the hares "were not in good condition" and yet, the meeting went ahead on day 2 with nobody crying halt.
So why didn't the NPWS prosecute the Wexford & District club for this apparent breach of a licence condition? After all, the licence granted to the coursers states unequivocally that "hares that become sick or injured while in captivity may not be coursed." This question is one which the NPWS needs to urgently answer.
Contact Dr Craig and ask him why the Wexford & District Coursing Club were not prosecuted for apparently breaching licence condition number 9 at a coursing meeting in December 2003. Cite the evidence of the conservation ranger as outlined above.
Dr Alan Craig
7 Ely Place, Dublin 2.
Lo-call: 1890 20 20 21
Bardot backs coursing ban
ICABS is delighted to report that Brigitte Bardot has expressed her support for our campaign against coursing.
Brigitte (pictured) has signed our "Stop the Terror - Ban Hare Coursing" campaign postcard, a copy of which we have forwarded to the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste and the Minister for the Environment. We have also notified every Irish TD and Senator of Brigitte's desire to see this cruel activity ended in Ireland.
In a letter received by ICABS from Paris-based Fondation Brigitte Bardot, it was stated that "Brigitte Bardot supports the banning of hare coursing and the use of an artificial lure instead".
ICABS has thanked Mrs Bardot for this positive gesture of support and we hope it will encourage many others to come forward and work with us to ban this blood sport in Ireland.
For more information about the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and its international campaigns, please visit www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr
Heritage Council confirms hare as declining species
The Heritage Council has become the latest to voice concern over the status of the Irish Hare population.
In a review of the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS), the council describes the hare as a species in decline.
The review points to certain styles of farming as being crucial to achieving nature conservation objectives over large areas.
Maintaining these will be the only effective, long term way to protect animals, plants and invertebrates, the statement outlines, adding that this applies "not only to a range of widespread, but declining, species, such as the cuckoo, yellowhammer or hare, but also to rarities, such as the marsh fritillary butterfly."
The Heritage Council goes on to identify several weaknesses in the REPS scheme which can adversely affect wildlife and habitats.
Among these are: REPS planners putting farmers first instead of the aims of the scheme - "their appreciation of the ecology of farmland is coloured by their own, often agricultural, training."
The scheme engendering the attitude that "more wildlife means more restrictions" instead of conveying that more wildlife means more reasons for farmers to feel proud of their contribution to conservation.
REPS planners failing to recognise certain types of important habitats or areas of natural heritage value on farms.
The administration of the REPS scheme by Department of Agriculture staff is also pinpointed as being potentially problematic.
The Heritage Council states: "Some of the most interesting elements of Ireland's heritage do not conform to a simple pattern of clearly compartmentalised blocks, making for understandable administrative difficulties. However, this should not be seen as an excuse."
To read the full text of the REPS review, please visit: www.heritagecouncil.ie/publications/rural/reps_general.html.
Hunters relocate to Ireland in bid to avoid British ban
An Ireland on Sunday article has highlighted how hunters from the UK are queuing up to move to Ireland. With a hunting ban now in place in England, Wales and Scotland, Ireland has apparently become a prime destination.
Two foxhunters who recently moved from Kent to Tipperary were quoted in the January 9th article as saying: "Some people are bound to want to move when the [UK] ban is implemented."
This was confirmed by an estate agent contacted by the newspaper who said the pair are "only the first of many British blood sports enthusiasts interested in moving to Ireland".
It's a development which is sure to infuriate landowners who are already plagued by hunts coming on to their land. Among the problems landowners here have to deal with are hounds disturbing livestock (sometimes resulting in injury and death), the spread of diseases as hunts move cross country from one farm to the next, damaged land and crops and the destruction of boundary fences and ditches.
If you are a landowner, please make your property off limits to the hunt. If you have friends or family who have land in areas where hunting takes place, please appeal to them to close their land to hunts. To download and print a "No Hunting" sign, please visit the "Farmers" section of the ICABS website. Why not distribute some of our "Troubled by the Hunt" leaflets to landowners in your area. The leaflet offers advice on how to keep hunts off land. Please get in touch with us now for copies.
Hare-friendly tips for landowners
Landowners and farmers who wish to play their part in helping local hare populations are being asked to consider the following hare-friendly tips. More details can be found on the Ulster Wildlife Trust website.
Maintain varied grass species in pasture. Reduce dominance of ryegrass species (Lolium spp). Defer cutting of grass - to reduce leveret mortality. Reduce stocking levels of livestock; notably cattle and sheep. Reduce application of Nitrogen-based fertilisers that stimulate competitive grasses. Manage hedgerows for biodiversity. Maintain habitat variety, with plenty of cover.
Please copy this list and pass it on to friends, family and neighbours who are landowners. Ask them to take positive action to help the Irish Hare.
Judge orders destruction of duck shoot shotgun
ICABS has urged Westmeath County Council to remove a gun club sign from a public pathway in the village of Ballynacargy.
The call comes following a court case which revealed how a man shot tame ducks which swam close to the Royal Canal path.
At Mullingar District Court, Judge John Neilan heard how Paul Lonican (22) of 51 Ginnell Terrace, Mullingar arrived in Ballynacargy at 6.30 on the morning of September 12th 2004.
Using a licensed shotgun, Mr Lonican shot the ducks. A person who accompanied him had lured the birds into the line of fire using bits of bread.
Quoted in the Westmeath Examiner of 2nd July 2005, defending solicitor, Fiona Hunt, said it was the duck-shooting season at the time and that her client "didn't appreciate you could not shoot tame ducks". She went on to say that he was now ashamed of his actions.
Judge Neilan commented that it was understood that one didn't shoot at tame ducks. Garda McEntaggart pointed out that there are quite a few ducks in the harbour at Ballynacargy and that children enjoy feeding them.
The judge ordered the defendant to pay €1,000 which, he said, he hoped would be used by the villagers to replace the ducks they had lost. He adjourned the case to February 16th, 2006 and ordered the destruction of Mr Lonican's gun.
In our letter to the secretary of Westmeath County Council, we asked for the gun club's "Game Sanctuary - No Shooting" sign to be replaced.
"Considering that ducks were mercilessly slaughtered at this site by a shooter, it is unfortunate that those who enjoy walking along the pathway or feeding the ducks at this location are being reminded that members of a gun club continue to blast birds out of the sky in surrounding areas. We hope the council will replace this sign with an official "Wildlife Sanctuary - No Shooting" sign.
Drag hunting praised on Pat Kenny radio show
Drag hunting was praised as a humane and fun alternative to foxhunting during RTE Radio 1's "Today" show in March.
Host Pat Kenny read out comments from a drag hunting enthusiast who phoned in following an interview, the previous day, with the author of a foxhunting book. During that interview, it was claimed that farmers would not welcome drag hunts on to their land.
"Many farmers are happy to allow draghunts on their lands," the caller insisted. "Access is given for more reasons than the slaughter of foxes. For example, a love of horses, a sense of community and the upholding of countryside traditions without the bloodshed."
The caller added: "On Sunday last, I was on a hunt with all the thrills of the chase. Over eighty riders jumping ditches, hedges, fences in the Kildare/Offaly countryside - with the agreement and encouragement of local farmers. Two to three hours later the thrills and spills are being recounted in a local pub without a fox having been touched...I have never hunted a fox and I don't regard them as vermin."
Fox hunted for over 3 hours in Limerick
A fox was pursued for over 3 hours during a hunting festival in County Limerick, the Irish Field newspaper has reported.
The eight day festival - praised by the paper as "a marathon of hunting" - was organised by Limerick's Abbeyfeale Harriers and involved several harrier and fox hunts.
"Plenty of foxes were found," the report stated, focussing particularly on the one which had to endure several hours of hunting during a Limerick Foxhounds outing.
"With no horses, [the huntsman] was in Wellingtons and a Barbour but his hounds hunted none the worse for that. They found and hunted the same fox for three hours and 10 minutes."
We can only imagine the poor state of the fox during and following this deadly pursuit.
Of course, the Irish Field didn't detail the condition the animal was in when the hunt came to an end. Neither did the Countryside Alliance who described the outing in their Spring 2005 newsletter as "a superb day's hunting, the like of which many people never have the good fortune to experience". Foxes being pursued for prolonged periods is nothing unusual during foxhunts. For example, a separate report on the Limerick Foxhounds in a February edition of the Irish Field told of how they had a "run of two hours and 20 minutes".
ICABS has renewed its appeal to landowners in Limerick and around the country to show compassion and make their land off limits to hunts. If you have friends or relatives with land, please tell them about the suffering of hunted animals and appeal to them to make their property a haven for wildlife.
The physio fate of hunted foxes
What happens to foxes as they are chased by a pack of hounds? Research carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture provides some answers.
Their study investigated the physiological stress responses in foxes pursued for approximately 5 minutes by dogs and then killed.
Autopsies performed on the foxes revealed haemorrhage of the heart and lungs and congestion of adrenal glands and kidneys. Blood analysis showed high levels of enzymes that reflect tissue damage. Edema, discoloration, haemorrhage and inflammation were found in muscle tissue.
The study also observed that the foxes had experienced a breakdown of muscle tissue caused by the exertion of the chase. This is often followed by brain damage, paralysis and death, meaning that even foxes which evade capture are at risk.
Catching live hares is cruel says District Court Judge
The following article was published in the Anglo Celt in December 2004. It appeared under the heading "Catching live hares was an exercise in cruelty, states Judge".
Two Monaghan brothers who appeared before Judge S McBride at the local District Court charged with hunting wild animals/birds without a licence were convicted under the Wildlife Act.
Frank and Seamus McKenna, Shevlins, Glaslough, were each fined 350 Euro for committing the offence at Tiravray, Castleshane on September 22, 2002.
A summons for failing to desist from continuing the activity under the Wildlife Act 1976 was taken into account.
Mr E O'Carroll, State Solicitor, prosecuting, said that the defendants were not authorised to carry out their activity.
Mr Higgins, a Wildlife Ranger, observed a group of men netting hares. They were catching them for coursing in Dungannon.
They claimed that they were licensed to do so but didn't have the licence with them. The men refused to release the hares they had captured and they put them into the back of a van.
Mr O'Carroll said that a licence was granted to the Irish Coursing Club but Dungannon was not specified. Dungannon was not one of the stated clubs.
Mr C Jones, solicitor defending, said that he had a letter from the Irish Coursing Club stating that Dungannon was a registered club within the Irish Coursing Club. It was granted in Northern Ireland under the supervision of the Irish Coursing Club.
He said that there were 28 men catching hares that day and two of them were from Monaghan. The Coursing Club had issued a licence to the Dungannon Club to catch hares.
Judge McBride said that he would describe them as "bootleggers" as they were catching live hares which was cruelty.
Tony Gregory questions licensing of Ward Union
Does the Ward Union continue to get a licence "because it is controlled by some of the richest, most powerful and most influential developers and businessmen in this country"?
That was one of the questions recently posed by Tony Gregory, TD in Dail Eireann.
Responding, Batt O'Keeffe (Fianna Fail TD for Cork South Central and Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government) said: "The Minister and the officials in the Department do not know who is involved in the Ward Union Hunt."
ICABS took the opportunity to write to Deputy O'Keeffe to tell him that "the master of this hunt is Michael Bailey who, according to newspaper reports, was found by Mr Justice Feargus Flood to have 'made a corrupt payment to Ray Burke and tried to destroy the Planning Tribunal...In an interim report, the judge recorded that Bailey had lied to the tribunal, had breached its confidentiality and had colluded with others to make false allegations in an attempt to cover up his crimes, which included bribing the Dublin County manager, George Redmond'."
We sent a copy of the letter to Minister Dick Roche who licences the Ward Union hunt. In a two-sentence reply, the Minister stated: "Thank you for the email. I have forwarded your message to MoS O'Keeffe for reply."
Minister of State O'Keeffe never did reply.
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