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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Aine Collins, TD (Fine Gael, Cork North West):
Aine Collins TD did not respond to an appeal to her to join calls for an end to cruel hare coursing in her local Millstreet Town Park. ICABS filmed dozens of hares running for their lives during a coursing meeting in the park. In our appeal to Deputy Collins, we stated: "We are writing to appeal to you to please speak out against hare coursing and join calls to the Millstreet Town Park Committee to stop hosting this cruel activity. Irish Council Against Blood Sports monitors present in the park earlier this month witnessed hares desperately trying to escape from greyhounds. The dogs were released from next to the park's goalposts to chase after the terrorised hares."

Michael Creed, TD (Fine Gael, Cork North West):
In a statement issued in October 2009, Michael Creed, TD stated: "Fine Gael supports country sports which are carried out humanely, properly supervised and monitored and that do not involve any undue risk to animal welfare. If these criteria can be satisfied Fine Gael does not oppose properly licensed country sports activities. Fine Gael will oppose any move by Government to deny groups who have conducted their activities as per their licences, the right to continue to pursue these activities in the future. We believe that imposing a ban on these licensed activities would be a retrograde step both in terms of animal welfare and economically. "

Fine Gael's Spokesperson for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Michael Creed, has been asked by ICABS to stop defending the cruel blood sport of beagling. In a Sunday Independent report, the County Cork TD sided with the beaglers and criticised Minister John Gormley for restricting the beagling season. The June 1st 2008 article quoted Deputy Creed as saying that "any assault on the ordinary working man's pursuit of beagling by some Green metropolitan latte-drinking elite would not be taken lying down". For more information, see ICABS responds to Deputy Michael Creed's beagling remarks

Shirley Griffin (The People’s Convention, Cork North West)
"[Me and my husband] both love and respect animals...The principle of the People's Candidates is that we don't use our position to further our own cause. If we are elected we will be serving the people. If a motion came up in the council to ban hare coursing or foxhunting, I would hold a meeting and the people of the Ballincollig/Carriagaline area would be invited to vote on it, and I would then vote on what the majority wanted. This, in our opinion, is true democracy. No vested interest, just the will of the majority." from an email to ICABS, May 2014.

Cormac Manning (Green Party, Cork North West):
"If elected I would support legislation to ban fox hunting and hare coursing. With relation to fur farming I would also support banning the practice, though a compensation scheme would need to be implemented to help current fur farmers transition to other jobs." in reply to Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society.

Michael Moynihan TD (Fianna Fail, Cork North West):
"Those involved in the industry and coursing clubs are genuine, decent and honourable people, providing employment and entertainment and maintaining animal welfare standards second to none...We must acknowledge the voluntary contributions people made in Bord na gCon and the Irish Coursing Club. Many of them have been attacked from certain quarters. It is up to those who acknowledge these people’s contribution to stand up for them and point out that their sports are completely legitimate." From a Dail debate on the Welfare of Greyhounds Bill 2011, 30 June 2011

Diarmuid O'Flynn (Independent, Cork North West):
A supporter of hare coursing, Diarmuid O'Flynn wrote an article for the Irish Examiner in 2014 entitled "House of pure coursing". In it, he wrote: " After the delayed start on Saturday the coursing itself went as smoothly as could be, not a hare knocked all day, slipper Brian Doyle doing a superb job giving hare and hound every chance...Overall another successful meeting for another successful coursing club. With only Macroom to go this week, the excitement is building for Clonmel, almost every box ticked. Less than three weeks now, and counting"

As a Cork Examiner columnist in 2001, Diarmuid O'Flynn bemoaned the lack of media coverage for Clonmel's coursing cruelty festival, writing: "The Irish media army’s silence during the three-day Clonmel event, their derisory coverage when they did deign to report, should not be interpreted as indifference. They are merely waiting, hiding in the long grass, for the campaign to begin. When it does, the coursing fans, the hunters, will have no chance."

Steven O’Riordan (Independent, Cork North West):
"I would look for it to be banned." in reply to a message from Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society relating to fox hunting, hare coursing, fur farming and animal act circuses. January 2016.

Jerry O’Sullivan (Independent, Cork North West):
"I do not support animal cruelty and I do not support the tearing apart of animals for sport...I am a farmer but I always treat my animals with great care. I hate animal cruelty. I am lucky to live and work in a wonderful place full of nature - hares, Irish squirrels, deer and many more wild animals. I don't really know anything about Fox hunting. But I do know about hare coursing and I am completely against using live hares. I do not support any animal being torn apart for sport." from a tweet/email to ICABS, February 2016.

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