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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Eddie Conroy (People Before Profit, Roscommon Galway):
"Yes [in favour of a ban on fox hunting and hare coursing]." from a tweet to ICABS, February 2016.

"My personal feelings are that I would ban all of the above. I would also like to see the penalties for dog fighting and neglect increased significantly. A personal bugbear is the situation where a person convicted of neglect, cruelty or illegal fighting is free to return to keeping animals once they've honoured their fine or sentence. The gardai have no obligation to monitor them. I would like to see that change." in reply to Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society.

Michael Fitzmaurice (Independent, Roscommon Galway):
"I understand the habitats directive is under review in various countries. What plans is Ireland making to review the habitats directive, given the massive problems it has caused for people living in rural Ireland? Every one of us loves wildlife and loves promoting it, but the sad reality of the habitats directive is that it puts a snipe ahead of a human being and is driving people out of rural Ireland. What submissions has the Government made to balance the weighing scales?" Michael Fitzmaurice, Dáil debate, 24 September 2015.

"To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in view of the fact that the activities of commercial shoot operators targeting woodcock in the main, particularly in the western counties, are frequently unregulated and the need to regulate the shooting of wild animals and birds in the interest of conservation and sustainability, if she will provide a commencement date for section 36 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 which deals with the licensing and regulation of shoot operators" Dail Question, 22 September 2015

Miriam Hennessy (Green Party, Roscommon Galway):
"I am totally against any cruelty to animals and am very proud of the work we as Greens achieved for animal welfare while in government. I assure you that I will continue to work so hard for the animals. And well done for the great work you and your organisation are doing." from an email to ICABS, February 2016.

Senator John Kelly (Labour Party, Roscommon Galway)
In 2013, Dunnes Stores banned animal groups from fundraising at its stores. Despite complaints and protests, Dunnes Stores refused to reveal the reasons for its deplorable decision to reject groups who are working hard to try and alleviate the suffering of animals across Ireland. Labour Party Senator, John Kelly, raised the issue in Seanad Eireann on 12th February 2013 and called for answers. Watch his Senate speech at

Denis Naughten, TD (Independent, Roscommon Galway):
On 27th March 2013, Denis Naughten supported amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to outlaw foxhunting, terrierwork, digging-out, ferreting and fur farming.

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