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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John Curran (Fianna Fail)
"I am delighted that such a significant amount of funding has been allocated to Fossett's Circus in Lucan." Fianna Fail TD John Curran after learning from Minister John O'Donoghue that the circus is to receive a massive Eur200,000 (two hundred thousand euro) under the Arts and Cultural Enhancement Support Scheme II (ACCESS II) - 27 April 2007.

As a TD in 2005, John Curran voted against the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill 2004.

Frances Fitzgerald (Fine Gael, Dublin Mid West)
In December 2014, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald defended the presence of two Gardai at a hare coursing meeting in Glin. Replying to a Dail Question from Clare Daly, TD, Minister Fitzgerald stated: "The event attracted a significant number of patrons on Saturday 4 October and a larger number of patrons on Sunday 5 October. As with other events that attract a considerable crowd of people, local Garda management deemed it necessary to have Gardaí present. The duties performed by Gardaí were normal traffic duties, as performed at all local public events that attract large numbers of people and the Coursing Club will not be covering the cost of the Garda presence."

In March 2013, Frances Fitzgerald 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.

Cllr Paul Gogarty (Independent, South Dublin County Council)
Paul Gogarty is a former Green Party TD.

"Hare coursing involves cruelty to both hares and dogs and this has to stop," he stated. "I am not anti-greyhound racing, but an industry that knowingly engages in animal cruelty for profit is not one that should be allowed operate in such a fashion." During a Dail debate on the Greyhound Industry (Doping Regulation) Bill 2006, 8th June 2006.

"If asked, the majority of people in Ireland wish to have stag hunting banned. The majority of people, including those living in rural areas, also wish to have hare coursing banned...the maths and the clout do not add up for the Green Party to ban hare coursing although we have expressed our desire to get rid of hare coursing."

Green Party spokesperson on Arts, Sport and Tourism Paul Gogarty TD has called for a ban on all hare coursing, saying that the greyhound industry is covered in a cloud of cruelty and is in urgent need of reform. According to Deputy Gogarty, drag coursing, which involves the use of a mechanical bait, could and should replace the use of live hares. "Statistics show that 75 per cent of people living in the countryside and 90 per cent of city dwellers oppose hare coursing. So why are our legislators ignoring this fact? Perhaps this is because many of our elites own greyhounds, including politicians from several parties. During today's debate a considerable number of contributors admitted to owning a greyhound; making it hard for many to take a balanced view of the industry. "Do these parliamentary colleagues condone the stress caused to hares that are captured for up to six weeks? Do they condone the deaths from stress and maulings that still occur, even with muzzles on the greyhounds? What about the illegal bloodings that still go on and the putting down of greyhounds that have outlived their economic usefulness? Is there not an element of hypocrisy involved?" Deputy Gogarty also questioned the continuation of the current high levels of funding for the dog and horse racing industries. from a statement by Paul Gogarty, Spokesperson on Arts, Sport & Tourism, Education & Science, 8th June 2006

Christopher Healy (Direct Democracy Ireland, Dublin Mid West):
"I am against blood sports." from a tweet to ICABS, February 2016.

Lorraine Hennessy (The Workers' Party, Dublin Mid West):
"I do support the banning of blood sports. It is unacceptable in this day and age. Drag Hunting is a much better alternative and more fulfilling for equine enthusiasts and it has pre-determined trails and tracks for the horse and rider. Hare coursing is barbaric and even without the kill I feel is unacceptable and causes undue stress and trauma to a helpless animal.

I have very serious concerns regarding the treatment of horses in our own constituency by Local Authorities. SDCC has spent millions putting down hundreds of horses and some of the Impound Operators they have used have been guilty of cruelty and appalling conditions. This money would be better spent on facilities and education for young people especially.

I have supported the need for equine facilities in Ballyfermot, which was successful following the introduction of Registration Of Horse's Legislation. I have also made several submissions to SDCC development plan 2016-2022, including one to provide equine facilities. Our Community have been successful in recently securing funding for a new equine facility in North Clondalkin and development will commence early this year.

Derek Keating (Fine Gael, Dublin Mid West):
In September 2012, Derek Keating TD questioned whether money paid out to animal welfare groups represents value for money. In a Dail question to the Minister for Agriculture, he asked "in view of the fact that it is reported that he grant aids animal welfare to the amount of €1.1 million every year, if he is satisfied that there is value for money and that the various organisations are providing a service that is in keeping with funding from public moneys".

Cllr Gino Kenny (People Before Profit Alliance, South Dublin County Council)
"I'm against any type of blood Sport which wantonly hurts any animal. I hope one day soon that blood sports in Britain and Ireland are a relic of the past." -

Anne-Marie McNally (Social Democrats, Dublin Mid West):
"Ban ban ban" from a 19th January 2016 tweet in reply to ICABS asking "Are you in favour of a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing."

Cllr Francis Timmons (Independent, South Dublin County Council)
"I fully support [an end to the licensing of hare coursing]. I am against coursing." from an email to ICABS, August 2015.

"I support a ban [on foxhunting and hare coursing] and would support and /or put a motion down calling on a ban." from an email to ICABS, September 2014.

Joanna Tuffy, TD (Labour Party, Dublin Mid West):
"Studies carried out on the Ward Union Hunt found evidence of physiological recovery within three or four days and full recovery within ten days, and two months post hunt the hunted deer were found to be in good health." Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Committee and Remaining Stages, 29 June 2010 - In response, Minister Gormley stated: "I do not know what sort of information the Deputy has but one does not need to be a vet or any specialist to see that the animal in question is under severe stress. It is a domesticated animal. The vets to whom I have spoken have clearly stated that the animal is under severe stress." Deputy Tuffy voted against the ban on staghunting.

"The Labour Party opposes this legislation [ban on Ward Union deerhunt] because it is the wrong approach to maximising the protection of wildlife. It does nothing to protect wildlife but has a much more cynical motivation. It is an all-out unilateral ban on the Ward Union Hunt...People in rural communities feel under threat from this legislation and are concerned it is the thin end of the wedge."
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 24 June 2010

Joanna Tuffy voted against the staghunt ban.

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