General Election 2016 - Where do the candidates stand on animal cruelty issues?

'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated' - Mahatma Gandhi
'Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation' - Martin Luther King

Before voting in the general election on Friday 26th February, read our guide to the candidates and where they stand on animal cruelty issues. Please make your vote count for the animals.

Individual candidate views may differ from official party policies, to which members are expected to follow in Dail Eireann. Click on the link to view party policies in relation to animal issues. Help us expand this list - let us know about responses you receive from candidates. If you are a candidate and wish to be included in this list, please get in touch with us now.


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Pat Breen, TD (Fine Gael, Clare):
"We all know people in every parish in every county who take great pride in their greyhounds and Clare is no different. Many of the dog breeders there go to the greyhound tracks in Limerick or Galway every Friday and Saturday night and they look forward to that social event. Greyhound racing and coursing are extremely important...Many people are involved in coursing clubs, such as the Tradaree Coursing Club. They want to have a dog who will raise a flag and win a race in Clonmel or wherever...I visited the kennels of the County Clare Hunt, which are located in my parish of Drumquin." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009 [Seanad]: Second Stage, 2nd June 2010

Joe Carey, TD (Fine Gael, Clare):
"The issuing of hunter certificates and management of entries and declarations for point-to-point racing and the financial receipts associated with those functions will remain with the local hunt clubs...Income streams that currently go to local hunt clubs will be unaffected. I commend the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, under the chairmanship of Deputy Andrew Doyle, on its role in formulating this important legislation." Joe Carey TD during Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015, 11 November 2015.

"I am a greyhound owner and breeder...I acknowledge and welcome the involvement of greyhound industry interests, including the IGB [and] Irish Coursing Club..." Welfare of Greyhounds Bill 2011: Second Stage, 30 June 2011.

"I wish to put on record my opposition to this Bill and its knock-on effect on the greyhound industry. The Irish greyhound industry is a world leader and it has been allowed to grow and develop under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958. The Dog Breeding Establishments Bill will tamper with and have a very negative effect on the greyhound industry." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Discussion, 11 May 2010

"This column has gone to the dogs, so today, we are dedicating it to Taco Beauty, a dark brindle breeding bitch belonging to Clare TD Joe Carey. While speaking on the controversial dog breeding Bill in the Dail yesterday, Fine Gael's new assistant chief whip told his delighted colleagues that he just found out that his breeding bitch is in pup." from Miriam Lord's week column, Irish Times, 3rd July 2010

"Deputy Joe Carey: I welcome the Minister's new-found regard for the Irish Coursing Club." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009, 8th July 2010.

Timmy Dooley, TD (Fianna Fail, Clare):
"There is nothing in this legislation that can in any way impact on greyhound racing, hare coursing, fox hunting, fishing or shooting. I would not and will not support any legislation that would seek to ban any of these pursuits, which are an integral part of the fabric of rural life." from "Fianna Fáil resignation over stag ban", Clare Champion, 2010.

Michael McNamara (Labour Party, Clare):
In March 2013, Michael McNamara voted against amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban on some of Ireland's worst acts of cruelty to animals - foxhunting, hare coursing, digging out, terrierwork, ferreting, badger culling, fur farming and the use of animals in circus performances.

"The difficulty in obtaining licences for boats to carry live exports out of Ireland has long been a bugbear of mine." Michael McNamara, Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, 12 May 2015. "I can see what could be wrong with exporting mature animals to the Continent because they would be killed there and would be competing with Irish animals killed here but if they are going to a third country like Libya, what is wrong with exporting 12 year old cows if that is what they are looking for over there?" Michael McNamara, Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, 25 March 2014.

Niamh O’Brien (Fis Nua, Clare):
"I agree with you on everything. I will try go into more detail at some stage because this is a very important issue, close to my heart and a lot of my friends and family. I will sign any petition that protects animals and provides proper punishment for offenders. I know the racing industry is tarred with horrifying practices and should be dealt with accordingly." from a reply to the National Animal Rights Association, 2016.

Fergal Smith (Green Party, Clare):
"I stand behind the Green Party's position on animal rights. We are all apart of the environment and we are all so interconnected. The environment is at the top of my list and that means looking after all living things. We need to understand the importance of balance in nature and educate ourselves on how best to promote that in our local environments." from an email to ICABS, January 2016.

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