Pearse Brothers "totally opposed" to coursing: Senator Margaret Pearse
19 April 2006
This week, as the country remembers and honours the heroes of 1916, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports has called on Bertie Ahern to introduce legislation outlawing live hare coursing and hunting wild animals with dogs. This, we have told the Taoiseach, would be a fitting tribute to Padraic Pearse, whose ideals he much admires.
We have sent Mr Ahern a copy of a letter written by Padraic Pearse's sister, Senator Margaret Pearse, to actor and founder member of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, John Cowley, who played Tom Riordan in the long running rural soap, 'The Riordans'. In her letter, written from a nursing home in 1967, Senator Pearse outlined how her brothers, Padraic and Willie, were kind to animals and would have been opposed to hare coursing.
Senator Margaret Pearse had felt so strongly about hare coursing in 1967 that she took the time and trouble, then aged 89, to write a letter to the national press, condemning the blood sport. Referring to her brothers, Padraic and Willie, she told John Cowley: "In my letter to the press, I invoked the names of my two brothers, Padraic and Willie, and I was absolutely correct in affirming that they would both have been totally opposed to the inhuman treatment meted out to the innocent little hares at the coursing matches. At all times during their lives, they were kind to dumb animals and Padraic's writings give many instances of his love for animals and birds, and I am certain that were they alive today, they would both be foremost in condemning coursing for the sadistic spectacle that it is."
In an appeal to Bertie Ahern, Aideen Yourell of ICABS stated: "Would it not now be a fitting tribute, Taoiseach, and acknowledgement of Padraic Pearse, his brother Willie and his sister, Margaret, that in this the 90th commemoration of the great events of 1916 and Padraic Pearse's life and ideals, to bring an end to the cruel abuse that is live hare coursing. It would be a gesture that would be supported and applauded by the vast majority of our citizens. As you are no doubt aware, 80% of the population (according to the last independent survey) want to see hare coursing banned. Also, our near neighbours have banned hare coursing and hunting wild animals with dogs, leaving us as the last bastion of blood sports that, ironically, we inherited from across the water in the first place.
"I appeal to you, Taoiseach, to bring in legislation outlawing live hare coursing and hunting wild animals with dogs. The coursers do not need to use live hares, cruelly snatched from the wild for their events. A mechanical lure can be used as a perfectly acceptable and viable alternative.
"The ending of hare coursing and hunting wild animals with dogs would be a fitting tribute to Padraic and Willie Pearse and their sister, Margaret, and, indeed, actor John Cowley who was so well loved by the Irish public."
Senator Margaret Pearse's letter to John Cowley
Linden Convalescent Home
4th March 1967
Mr John Cowley
Dear Mr Cowley
I was very glad to get your letter of the 28th ult., and to read in it your enthusiasm for the cause of having the cruel treatment of the helpless hares at coursing abolished. You may be assured of my fullest support for that campaign and any help which I could give to your efforts would be gladly given. I am glad that you were so appreciative of my recent letter to the press. I only hope that more people who think as we do will also raise their voices in protest against a cruelty which can only have ill-effects on the character of the people who participate in the so-called sport of coursing.
In my letter to the press I invoked the names of my two brothers Padraic and Willie and I was absolutely correct in affirming that they would both have been totally opposed to the inhuman treatment meted out to the innocent little hares at the coursing matches. At all times during their lives they were kind to dumb animals and Padraic's writings give many instances of his love for animals and birds. I am certain that were they alive today they would be foremost in condemning coursing for the sadistic spectacle it is.
Not only coursing but all blood sports are repugnant to me and I think that they have a debasing effect on all those who take part in them, so much so that I feel the practice of blood sports tends to make the participants indifferent to human sufferings. In my experience people who are kind and considerate to dumb animals are also kind and considerate to their fellow human beings.
Please accept my congratulations for the good work you are doing in arousing public indignation against blood sports of all kinds, and especially coursing which seems to me to be particularly and unnecessarily brutal. At my age (I am in my 89th year), there is little I could do to help you in your efforts but you can, at least, count on my unqualified support for your efforts to have coursing abolished. Keep up the good work, and may God reward your endeavours.
Margaret M. Pearse, Senator
Please join us in calling on Bertie Ahern to introduce legislation to ban hare coursing. Tell the Taoiseach that this would be a fitting tribute to Padraic, Willie and Margaret Pearse.
An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern
Tel: 01-662 4888