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

Dara Calleary, TD (Fianna Fail, Mayo):
"The Ward Union [stag hunt] is on the scrap metal heap..." Dail debate, 8 November 2011

Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh (Sinn Fein, Mayo County Council)
"Yes [add me to the list of Sinn Fein politicians in favour of a ban on bloodsports]" from a tweet to ICABS, June 2015.

Jerry Cowley (Independent, Mayo):
As a TD in 2002, Dr Jerry Cowley stated: "I think [blood sports are] barbaric and totally unnecessary."

In a 2005 Dail vote, Jerry Cowley voted in favour of the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill. The bill was defeated by 67 votes to 50.

Michael Farrington (Renua, Mayo):
"Yes I am in favour of a ban [on foxhunting and hare coursing]" from a tweet to ICABS, 26th January 2016.

Enda Kenny, TD (Fine Gael, Mayo):
During a November 2014 speech in Dail Eireann, Taoiseach Enda Kenny indirectly acknowledged that foxhunting is "absolutely disgraceful". Read More. However, he refused to move to ban foxhunting or hare coursing.

"I am opposed to the practice of live hare coursing." (from an email to ICABS, July 2003)

The Fine Gael party's 2011 election manifesto stated that "Fine Gael will reverse the ban on stag hunting." Fine Gael later dismissed a suggestion that the Ward Union stag hunt would be back. A spokesperson for Enda Kenny made it clear that "there is no such commitment in the Programme for Government" and that the Taoiseach "would not resile from what's in the Programme for Government." ICABS website, 15 November 2011

A statement issued by shooting organisation, NARGC, claims that "Enda Kenny gave a solemn commitment to all the hunting associations, when he met them on April 20th 2005 in the offices of the Irish Coursing Club in Clonmel, that Fine Gael would not in government agree to the introduction of restrictions or bans on hunting." In a letter to the Fine Gael leader, ICABS queried the claim and stated that if it was accurate, it was extremely disappointing to those campaigning against animal cruelty all across Ireland. We also conveyed our sadness at the claim that a meeting took place at the offices of the Irish Coursing Club. We reminded Mr Kenny that he confirmed to us in July 2003 that he is "opposed to the practice of live hare coursing". from ICABS website, March 2007.

Tom Moran (People Before Profit, Mayo)
"As any rational human being would be, I am opposed to any cruelty to animals, whether it is hare coursing, fox hunting, stag hunting or animal testing." from an email to ICABS, February 2016.

Michelle Mulherin TD (Fine Gael, Mayo):
In March 2013, Michelle Mulherin TD 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.

Michelle Mulherin TD has made representations on behalf of ICABS to Minister Simon Coveney (in relation to cruel terrierwork and digging-out).

George O’Malley (Independent, Mayo):
"I'm totally against blood sports" from an email to ICABS, February 2016.

Michael Ring, TD (Fine Gael, Mayo):
"I am personally against hare coursing. I am totally opposed to cruelty to animals but particularly this kind of cruelty in relation to blood sports."

Margaret Sheehan (Green Party, Mayo):
"We were the party responsible for the ban on stag hunting and I share your view that we should also ban fox hunting. On a personal level, I am an animal lover, and treasure the wildlife we have in Ireland. I am totally opposed to the cruel and unnecessary practice of fur farming! We as humans do not need fur, while mink do. Furthermore, the environmental damage to our ecosystem, resulting from the accidental release of mink into the wild is considerable. I am vehemently opposed to fox hunting, or using the death or torture of animals for any 'sport'. I don't agree with greyhound racing, as I am aware that many dogs get injuries to their feet and then they are discarded. I am opposed to horse racing too. Since I was a child I have watched with dismay as dead horses lay covered over after the Grand National. And yes, I was one of those 'cruel' mothers who never allowed their children go to the circus. I have been buying cruelty-free products since Body Shop appeared on the scene many years ago, and have real concerns about testing of drugs for people on animals. I don't believe that drugs are proved to be safe until they have been tested on humans anyway. I have been a vegetarian for 25 years now, and have brought my children up likewise." from an email to ICABS, January 2016.

Return to Election 2016 | See the views of All Candidates

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