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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Tommy Broughan, TD (Independent, Dublin Bay North):
"Animal welfare is something that I feel very strongly about and is an issue that I have raised on many occasions in Dáil Éireann. I am against animal cruelty in any way, shape or form and believe that animals should not be used in hunting, coursing or in any situation where they are mistreated for human entertainment. Animals are sentient beings and should be protected and safe. I have raised many questions and issues over the years regarding the race horse industry and dog breeding in particular and of course, will remain a strong advocate for animal welfare and rights should I be re-elected to the 32nd Dáil." from a reply to the National Animal Rights Association, 2016.

ICABS has sent a message of thanks to Dublin North East TD, Tommy Broughan, after he abstained from voting in the Wildlife Amendment Bill vote in 2010. "We wish to thank you very much for remaining true to your principles and refusing to vote against the Wildlife Amendment Bill on Tuesday. Your action helped achieve success for this historic bill and bring the cruel ward union hunt to an end. You have our greatest respect and admiration," we stated. Read More

"I remain opposed to all so called blood 'sports'." (February 2010)
"[I] support your call to introduce drag coursing in place of coursing of hares." (September 2003)

On 27th March 2013, Tommy Broughan supported amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to outlaw hare coursing, foxhunting, terrierwork, digging-out, ferreting and fur farming.

Richard Bruton, TD (Fine Gael, Dublin Bay North):
In March 2013, Richard Bruton 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.

Paul Clarke (Independent)
In his animal welfare policies, Paul Clarke states: "End Fox hunting, cub-hunting and Animal Fighting practices. Paul supports government action that ends the practice of fox hunting, cub-hunting, “Digging Out,” and other animal fighting that unnecessarily causes pain, suffering and harm to wild and domesticated animals. As the World Organization for Animal Health has recognized, the use of animals in recreation should be reserved for instances that make a major contribution to the wellbeing of people. It is difficult to argue that these practices meet that standard."

"It is really not humane to make animals fight each other as they lack the sensibilities which humans have." from a tweet to ICABS, May 2014.

Donna Cooney (Green Party)
"I am committed (as are my party) to animal welfare. I am a vegetarian all my life. I help animals in need, whenever I can. I would be totally against blood sports or any activity that hurts animals. Although there is no hunting in Dublin city, I will as a representative if elected, always consider the welfare of animals in any council policy decision and lobby against hunting, fur, animal testing." Donna Cooney (Green Party, Dublin City Council [Clontarf] Candidate), March 2014.

Terence Flanagan, TD (Renua, Dublin Bay North):
"I support the Irish Council Against Blood Sports' call for the Ward Union hunt to be refused a licence," Deputy Flanagan stated in a letter to Minister John Gormley, October 2007. For more, see Terence Flanagan, TD joins calls for end to deer hunt

In March 2015, Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture "if hare coursing will be banned".

In a February 2015 Dail Question, Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture "if he will provide an update regarding legislation for fur farming".

In October 2012, Terence Flanagan asked Minister Simon Coveney "if he will respond to the following query regarding the Animal Welfare Bill (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter." Read the reply

Cllr Deirdre Heney (Fianna Fail, Dublin Bay North):
"Animal welfare is a matter close to my heart, particularly in an urban setting. If elected I will support any policies that encourages public awareness around animal welfare issues." in reply to Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society. January 2016.

Cllr Sean Haughey (Fianna Fail, Dublin City Council / Clontarf)
In 2010, Sean Haughey TD voted in favour of the ban on carted stag hunting.

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. Sean Haughey was among the TDs who voted AGAINST the bill.

In June 2005, Sean Haughey, TD asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food "her views on the horrific slaughter of 4,300 pigs on a farm in Waterford in 2002 which was presided over by officials from her Department".

Cllr John Lyons (People Before Profit, Dublin City Council)
"I am most certainly in favour of a ban on these horrific activities [hare coursing and fox hunting]." from a text message to ICABS, November 2014.

Finian McGrath, TD (Independent, Dublin Bay North):
"Finian McGrath saved the day for the stags of north Dublin and Meath this week by voting with the Government on the hunting ban." Irish Independent, July 3rd 2010.

"Finian McGrath and Maureen O'Sullivan have told the Herald that they are determined to see stag hunting ended. Both say that blood sports are entirely wrong and should be stamped out as soon as possible..."I would be totally against blood sports," [Finian] said. "I have major concern around the chasing of stags. There have been a couple of serious incidents. In one incident a stag was chased into a schoolyard. It was appalling, disgraceful." Evening Herald, June 29 2010.

"I support the plan to end doping and rigging of greyhound races. I demand standards in the industry to root out doping and sleaze. Although it is an important social and family event, the downside of it is coursing, on which we need a debate." During a Dail debate on the Greyhound Industry (Doping Regulation) Bill 2006, 8th June 2006.

"You have my total support in relation to blood sports. I am definitely opposed to them". November, 2003

On 27th March 2013, Finian McGrath supported amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to outlaw hare coursing, foxhunting, terrierwork, digging-out, ferreting and fur farming.

Cllr Michael O'Brien (Anti Austerity Alliance, Dublin City Council / Clontarf)
Hare coursing is a "wretched activity". from an email to ICABS, June 2015.

"I support the complete banning of all bloodsports in this country. I wish you and your campaign every success with this important struggle."

Cllr Cian O'Callaghan (Independent, Fingal County Council)
"I am supportive of your organisation and campaign." (from an email to ICABS in March 2012)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD (Labour Party, Dublin Bay North):
In an October 2011 Dail Question, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Agriculture "if he will reaffirm his commitment to end fur farming" and "if the animal health and welfare Bill will deal with this issue". However, less than two years later in March 2013, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin voted against amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban fur farming.

He also voted against amendments to the Bill which aimed to outlaw foxhunting, hare coursing, digging out, terrierwork, ferreting, badger culling and the use of animals in circus performances.

Senator Averil Power (Independent, Dublin Bay North):
Senator Averil Power has condemned hare coursing as a "cruel pursuit" and called for a ban on the activity. During a Senate debate on Animal Health and Welfare Bill on 20 June 2012, Senator Power stated: "While I welcome the improvements in animal welfare provided for in the Bill I am disappointed that the Government decided against banning live hare coursing. As the Minister is aware, the practice has been banned in most other countries, including the UK and Northern Ireland, and it is my strong personal view that it is a cruel pursuit. Other countries have managed to create a sport out of drag coursing without inflicting pain and cruelty on animals.

"Bloodsports - opposed" from a reply to the National Animal Rights Association, 2016.

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