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 Catherine Martin (Green Party, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council)
"Absolutely!!" in response to an ICABS tweet asking "are you in favour of a ban on cruel hare coursing and foxhunting?". 12th August 2014.

Peter Mathews (Independent [formerly Fine Gael], Dublin Rathdown):
In an April 2011 Dail Question, Peter Mathews TD asked the Minister for Agriculture "his plans to give approval to Bord na gCon to allow the Irish Greyhound Board to send Irish greyhounds to the People's Republic of China; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that China does not have a good track record regarding its treatment of animals; and if he will make a statement on the matter."

Cllr Sorcha Nic Cormaic (Sinn Fein, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council)
"I'm 100% against fur farming. And also on animal circuses. I'm a bit reluctant to give you a commitment on the blood sports ban and the greyhound and horse racing issues. Personally my view would be sympathetic to the plight of the animals but I've been present at very interesting debates in my party at Ard Fheiseanna and I know there's some strongly held views from people in rural areas who claim city folk don't know what we're talking about. I'd love to commit but it would be disingenuous of me too. So 2 out of 4 definitely. And I'd like to support the other 2 but can't guarantee my party in government would. I will say at future Ard Fheiseanna I'll put motions in to that effect and with your direction argue the cases." in reply to Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society.

In November 2014, Sorcha Nic Cormaic voted against a council motion which described urban foxes as a "problem" and which called for action to be taken to deal with them.

Alan Shatter, TD (Fine Gael, Dublin Rathdown):
"I am totally opposed to hunting wild animals with dogs." Deputy Shatter voted AGAINST the Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 which banned staghunting.

Alan Shatter is a former President of the Irish Council against Blood Sports. See

In 2010, on RTE's 'The Week in Politics', Alan Shatter criticised the Green Party for bringing forward legislation to ban staghunting, stating that there are more important priorities.

"Would the Minister agree that many people regard hare coursing as an offensive, obscene and particularly primitive sporting activity? ... Could I urge him to consider introducing legislation to ban live hare coursing? I suggest that the Minister would agree that hare coursing is as primitive a sport as bull-fighting and cock-fighting, both of which are prohibited under our legislation." Dail Questions and Answers (Hare Coursing) - 8 June 1983.

Alex White TD (Labour Party, Dublin Rathdown):
In March 2013, Alex White 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.

Senator Mary White (Fianna Fail, Dublin Rathdown):
In 2012, Senator Mary White told the Irish Council Against Blood Sports that she is "strongly opposed to the cruelty and mistreatment of animals" and that she and her party will "do our best to address the issue". Senator White was responding to correspondence from ICABS in which we highlighted the cruelty of bloodsports, including digging out and terrierwork. We presented photos showing horrendous injuries sustained by Irish foxes when terriers are sent below ground to attack them. "I find the images provided disturbing and detest the vulgar activities you mentioned in the letter which go on out of public view in the secluded countryside," Senator White stated. "I feel this is an important issue and every politician and lover of animals has a responsibility to raise awareness among the public."

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