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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Cllr Gary Doherty (Sinn Fein, Donegal County Council)
"I am opposed to any form of blood sports and any activity which perpetuates undue and inhumane cruelty to animals." from a text message to ICABS, June 2015.

Pearse Doherty, TD (Sinn Fein, Donegal):
"This government is allocating 76 euro million to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund while giving less than that, 64 million euro, to the Drugs Initiatives and Young People's Facilities Fund. This is unacceptable. If the government were to re-allocate tax payers money out of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund then resources for the Drugs Initiatives and Young People's Facilities Fund under Budget 2008 could be more than doubled." (Donegal Sinn Fein Senator Pearse Doherty in a Donegal News report highlighting how the county's drugs squad has been left with just one part-time officer - February 1st, 2008)

Paula Flanagan (Green Party, Donegal):
"The Green Party brought in ban on stag hunting you can find our policy here" from a tweet to ICABS, 20th January 2016.

Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP (Fianna Fail)
In March 2004, Pat the Cope Gallagher - as Minister of State at the Department of the Environment - defended the licensing of the cruel Ward Union deer hunt, saying: "Section 26 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended, which governs the licensing of the hunting of deer by stag hounds, refers generically to deer, and the question of whether deer are domestic or wild is not an issue in that section...[This is] sufficient to empower the Minister to licence the Ward Union hunt." He was responding to a call from the late Tony Gregory TD that "this matter demands action and a resolute stand against the vested interests involved in torturing helpless animals."

In 2005, foxes and mink were doomed to lives of misery on fur farms following the rejection by Dail Eireann of the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill 2004. The bill was defeated by 67 votes to 50. Pat the Cope Gallagher was among the 62 Fianna Fail TDs who voted AGAINST the bill.

In November 2009, Pat the Cope Gallagher was strongly criticised by animal welfare campaigners after he appealed to the government to reconsider its plans to phase out cruel fur farming. The Donegal Democrat reported that Fianna Fail MEP Gallagher "said he will be asking the government to re-consider the position on fur farming which would see two mink farms close in south west Donegal." In a letter to Mr Gallagher, ICABS highlighted the suffering endured by mink and foxes on Irish fur farms. "Regardless of the small amount of jobs supported by this cruelty in Donegal or the euros it generates, nothing will ever change the fact that it is a disgraceful, disgusting and depraved industry," we stated. Witness the cruelty of Ireland's fur farming

Niamh Kennedy (Independent, Donegal):
"I am an animal lover. Of course I would support this issue of animal welfare." in reply to Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society, January 2016.

Padraig MacLochlainn (Sinn Fein, Donegal):
In a January 2016 Dail question, Padraig MacLochlainn TD referred to the hunting and shooting of animals as "sporting and leisure activities" and asked the Minister for Arts and Heritage to address the concerns of those involved - "To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she is aware of the grievance within some rural communities that responsibility for sporting and leisure activities such as dog trials, shooting and game hunting in bogs and other State owned lands, passed from the Land Commission to the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 2000, without any consultation; and if she will ensure that the concerns of those rural communities are heard and acted upon."

"Councillor Padraig MacLochlainn said dog owners 'have a responsibility' to ensure their dog is kept under control. He said: 'It gets a laugh when it is raised but its very, very serious matter. There are children playing around that Green and there's a real risk of toxoplasmosis, which leads to the loss of sight - it's a serious health risk...Dog owners have a responsibility, nobody is allowed to have a dog out without a leash, it is a very, very serious matter.'" Dogs fall foul of local councillors, The Inish Times, 2007

"Colr MacLochlainn added: 'The law states clearly that dogs should be tied up and locked up, not roaming the streets. I am a dog lover myself, but it is the responsibility of the dog owners to look after their dogs - and make sure this does not happen again. They have a responsibilty to young children.'" Calling time on stray dogs, Derry Journal, 31 August 2007

Charlie McConalogue, TD (Fianna Fáil, Donegal):
In March 2013, Charlie McConalogue 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.

Joe McHugh TD (Fine Gael, Donegal):
"I was recently approached by a Border town game hunting club in my own constituency. The Department of Justice will not grant it a licence because it has members from both sides of the Border. Artificial barriers imposed by the current Government undermine everyday cross-border cooperation at community level. These are the challenges that must be addressed." Speech by Joe McHugh TD to Fine Gael National Conference, March, 2010

Cordelia Nic Fhearraigh (Fis Nua, Donegal):
In a February 2016 email to ICABS, Cordelia Nic Fhearraigh said she backs Fis Nua's policy on animal welfare - "Aontaím leis an polasaí atá ag Fís Nua go bhfuil muid glan in éadan gníomhartha chruáltacha ar ainmhithe chomh maith le seilg ainmhithe le haghaidh spórt." The policy states: "We denounce all forms of animal cruelty and terrorisation, and hunting animals for sport."

Thomas Pringle, TD (Independent, Donegal):
"I think it is clear that I am not supporting these [anti-hunting and anti-coursing] amendments and it is only because of the situation in the Dail that the amendments have to be submitted in my name as the only independent on the select committee that will consider the legislation. I have no problem with field sports provided there is no unnecessary cruelty to animals during the sports and I know that most people involved are trying to preserve a rural way of life." Thomas Pringle, 14th November, 2012.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: First, I acknowledge the work of Deputy Thomas Pringle in allowing the amendments to be tabled because he had difficulties with some of them. I am conscious that the amendments tabled by Deputy Clare Daly and I presented difficulties for him. Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012: Committee Stage, 22 November 2012

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