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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Paudie Coffey, TD (Fine Gael, Waterford):
"Can the Minister reassure the House that in his tenure as the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, he will not bring forth any legislation that will affect the hunting of foxes, coursing or any other shooting or hunting pursuits that are traditional in Ireland? Can he give a categorical assurance today that this will be an end to it?...The Ward Union Hunt has been a responsible organisation in carrying out its pursuits and activities. It has always complied with regulations and the licensing conditions put on it. Much of its resources and those of the State were used to ensure it carried out its activities in a proper way." Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Committee Stage, 2nd July 2010

"Those involved in these rural pursuits [e.g. hunting] are not breaking any law; they are only doing what previous generations did. They are concerned that the Bill will affect the viability of these pursuits, in the process threatening their existence. I can appreciate their concerns, which is why we have tabled amendments to protect an indigenous industry that dates back many generations." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Committee Stage, 9th March 2010

"I was in Clonmel [at the hare coursing finals] and I did not witness any animal cruelty that you refer to." (a tweet from Paudie Coffey to ICABS, February 13th, 2014.

Ciara Conway TD (Labour Party, Waterford):
In March 2013, Ciara Conway TD voted against an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban on fur farming in Ireland.

Senator David Cullinane (Sinn Fein, Waterford):
In response to a January 2016 enquiry, David Cullinane quoted his party's animal welfare policies, including "[Sinn Fein] acknowledges the support in rural Ireland for traditional rural occupations including hunting, fishing and hare coursing, acknowledges the value that these pursuits bring to local rural economies and the potential economic damage posed by an outright ban, believes that hunting and fishing should continue to be regulated in the interests of sustainable wildlife management, believes that Irish hare coursing practices should be regulated to ensure sustainable wildlife management and to minimise unnecessary suffering to the animals involved, believes that the banning of hare coursing would drive it underground and remove current regulations which are essential to protect the animals involved. Therefore we oppose such an outright ban."

John Deasy TD (Fine Gael, Waterford):
In March 2013, John Deasy TD voted against an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban on fur farming in Ireland.

Una Dunphy (People Before Profit Alliance, Waterford):
"There is broad support across PBP to ban activities that treat animal cruelty as a sport. Personally I have always been against this from a young age, having been brought coursing as a child, I formed my own opinions from first hand experience. Were camera phones available in the early 90s I could display snaps of me at the hunt protest in Tramore over a number of years, I have no problem standing up against traditions that need changing in my home town...I believe that over time, attitudes have changed and the winning over of many farmers who have been victims of hunts has helped the cause." in reply to Maynooth University's Animal Rights Society.

John Halligan, TD (Independent, Waterford)
"I can confirm that Mr Halligan would consider blood sports to be a form of animal cruelty and as such would be in favour of any proposal to have same banned." from the office of John Halligan TD, 14th March 2012

"Mr Halligan is completely and utterly against any form of animal cruelty" (From the office of John Halligan, TD, 14th February 2012)

"I believe that hunting animals for pleasure is wrong and would be opposed to any motion that would be taking a step backwards in this regard." (From email to ICABS Supporter, February 2011)

Grace O'Sullivan (Green Party, Waterford)
"Having spent over ten years on Greenpeace ships, including the Rainbow Warrior, Grace is an internationally renowned environmentalist. She describes her activism as fighting injustice against the environment and communities, and is contesting this election to ensure that the environmental rights and concerns of her community are represented on the European stage." from the Green Party website, 2014.

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