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.


Share on Facebook

James Bannon, TD (Fine Gael, Longford Westmeath):
"The Fine Gael Party will strongly oppose any change to the existing licensing arrangements for stag and fox hunting. Any new regulations made by the Minister, or his Government, will be reversed." (Speaking during the Field Sport Regulation Adjournment Debate on 11 March 2010. To read the full text of the debate, Click Here).

"I emphasise that I am totally opposed to this legislation [to ban the Ward Union deerhunt], as a representative of Longford-Westmeath and as a countryman who supports the rural pursuits and unique heritage and tradition of field sports...hunting creates a sense of community in rural areas. My farm has facilitated hunting throughout my life and both my father and grandfather before him allowed the hunts to pass through our lands. I will continue to allow them do so. Hunting unites farmers and sports people for a common recreational purpose and tradition. I am deeply concerned at the appalling actions of the Minister and his wilting Green Party, which are aimed at destroying country wide field sports...I was shocked to see on the Minister's website the no-holes-barred assertion that the Green Party intended to attack coursing and fox hunting and secure a legislative ban on all blood sports...I cannot emphasise strongly enough the devastation to the sporting, economic, leisure and tourism activities of any ban on field sports, hare coursing or stag hunting. Any such move would be detrimental to the country as a whole and to the countryside in particular...Banning hunting, which is a strong tradition in rural Ireland going back centuries and over many generations, would be a threat to the rural way of life and would be strongly resisted by rural people and by people living in towns who participate in rural sports, many of whom I am delighted to welcome onto my farm every spring. " Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, Thursday, 24 June 2010

"I can assure the Minister of State that any attempt to ban hunting, which is a strong tradition in rural Ireland going back centuries and many generations, would be a threat to the rural way of life and would be strongly resisted by rural people...Deer and fox hunting have a long history in this country since the 19th century and earlier." Stated by James Bannon during Field Sport Regulation, Adjournment Debate, 11 March 2010.

Cllr Peter Burke (Fine Gael, Westmeath County Council)
Speaking to a constituent in February 2016, Peter Burke indicated that he supports foxhunting and hare coursing.

When questioned in 2014 about his position on bloodsports, Peter Burke wasn't prepared to reveal his stance. He claimed to know nothing about bloodsports, despite previously being furnished with information about the cruelty involved.

Brian Fagan (Independent, Longford Westmeath):
"I am against all types of animal cruelty" (to an ICABS representative, May 2014).

Stephanie Healy (Direct Democracy Ireland, Longford Westmeath):
"My opinion is that animal cruelty is barbaric. I love animals and it's an issue that is close to my heart. Anyone who can mistreat a helpless creature is a coward." from a tweet to ICABS, February 2016.

Donal Jackson (Independent, Longford Westmeath)
"I believe it to be unthinkable for anyone to be cruel to an animal and I certainly would never support such a situation. I consider fox hunting and hare coursing to be cruel and unjust and should be banned." from an email to ICABS, May 2014.

Manchán Magan (Green Party, Longford Westmeath):
"Do I approve of foxhunting? No. But it's been happening in my area far longer than I've been there. That should b recognised" from a tweet to ICABS, 19th January 2016.

Gabrielle McFadden (Fine Gael, Longford Westmeath):
Gabrielle McFadden has not responded to enquiries from ICABS about where she stands on foxhunting and hare coursing.

In November 2015, Gabrielle McFadden asked the Minister for Justice and Equality "her views on the concerns of a company (details supplied) regarding delays in the processing of applications for licences to import and export non-military firearms for its hunting and fishing business" and "the average time it takes for the firearms section of her Department to process applications for import and export licences for non-military firearms; if she is satisfied that there is sufficient staff to process such applications."

Cllr Kevin "Boxer" Moran (Independent, Westmeath County Council)
"My main political aims, if elected are...Lobby for the introduction of a Dept. of Agriculture supervised cull of unwanted horses." (2014 By-Election)

Dominic Parker (Anti Austerity Alliance, Longford Westmeath):
"I am a supporter like many many others within Anti Austerity Alliance of this Facebook group [Not For Your Entertainment - Against the exploitation of animals under the false pretence of entertainment]." in reply to Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society.

"The AAA believes that fur farming, fox hunting, hare coursing and animal-act circuses should be outlawed. We would support any legislation that would ban these practices." Dominic Parker in a message to a constituent, February 2016.

Willie Penrose, TD (Labour, Longford Westmeath):
"I am involved with point-to-point racing, which has its base in rural Ireland. I was delighted to win one of the oldest cups in Ireland, the Barbour Cup, twice with Ballintue Road. Point-to-point racing is a community activity organised by the local hunt or committee." Willie Penrose, Horse Racing Ireland Bill 2015: Second Stage, 11 November 2015

"Longford-Westmeath TD Willie Penrose also said he would not support a ban [on the Ward Union deerhunt]. 'I support rural Ireland. I don't support the Wildlife Bill. I certainly would not support the bill. I'm a rural person with rural views,' he said." (Irish Times, April 29, 2010)

"I speak as a Deputy who is deeply in touch with rural issues and a rural way of life and I strongly oppose the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010, as proposed by the Minister, Deputy Gormley...The Bill before the House is historic in at least one respect, in that, to the best of my knowledge, it is the first occasion since the foundation of the State that a Government has brought a specific Bill before this House to outlaw a country sport...As young people we hunted rabbits in order to secure food or sell it at two shillings unskinned or half a crown skinned...We hunted foxes...One got half a crown for a fox's tail when one brought it in." Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 29 June 2010. Watch on Youtube Deputy Penrose voted against the ban on staghunting

"[Minister Gormley] reserved his full contempt for Labour. "I find you absolutely shameful." It was difficult to disagree with him. The principled men and women of the Labour Party, who love to take a stand and cleave to it, blithely voting against a long-expressed opposition to animal cruelty and blood sports. No amount of shouting from Willie Penrose from Westmeath could change that, although he got a noisy round of applause from the Ward Union [hunt] people in the public gallery." Irish Times - Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"I have heard from people representing him that the Minister wants to get rid of coursing proposals implemented by a previous Minister, which were excellent. The Green Party was not satisfied and wanted to get rid of them. We say “No” to this today." Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage (Resumed), 29 June 2010.

Cllr Mae Sexton (Independent, Longford County Council)
"I am totally opposed to bloodsports. You have my full support for the campaign." Cllr Mae Sexton to ICABS, May 2014.

Robert Troy, TD (Fianna Fail, Longford Westmeath):
During a Dail debate in July 2012, Robert Troy said he wanted to see the ban on cruel stag hunting rescinded. "I thought the Government parties might have used the rescind the ban on stag hunting," he stated. Watch on Youtube See Also: Robert Troy wants stag hunt ban rescinded

Robert Troy has told ICABS that he supports hare coursing because some of his constituents are engaged in the activity.

In 2010, Cllr Troy attended a meeting in Mullingar organised by pro-blood sports group, RISE. Cllr Troy spoke in support of RISE. A RISE sticker was displayed on the door of his constituency office.

Return to Election 2016 | See the views of All Candidates

An Irish Council Against Blood Sports website
Visit our campaign website at