Bedlam as Ward Union invades school playground
24 January 2007
Children were left in tears and running for safety after hounds from the controversial Ward Union Hunt invaded a school playground in County Meath on Tuesday (23 January 2007). Eyewitnesses described the incident as a "nightmare" and "bedlam" and said it was a miracle that nobody was hurt.
The scene was condemned by parents from Kildalkey Village who called RTE Radio's Liveline show. Infuriated locals told of how a bloodied and screeching stag was chased by hounds into the playground. "It was a dangerous situation," commented one parent who said that with horses blocking the road, she was unable to get across to the school to see where her child was.
A school bus driver approaching the school described how hunt followers "held up the whole road". She said her young passengers started shouting out the bus that the hunters were cruel. She told Joe Duffy that, in response, the hunt followers gave the children "the finger". "It was an utter disgrace," she stated, adding that the chaos subsequently left her a half an hour late in getting the children to their destinations.
She went on to recall how one little first-class boy started crying. "He wanted his mother," she said. "He didn't know what was going on."
Another woman said that if anything had gone wrong, an ambulance wouldn't have been able to get down the road which was clogged with hunt vehicles and horses. "It was the luck of God that no child was injured," she remarked.
As a result of the hunt's incursion on to the Kildalkey National School property, the principal initiated the school's "Critical incident Plan" for the first time ever. This included instructing teachers to keep children inside the school.
"The school staff and parents immediately swung into action to ensure the safety of the children," she told Liveline listeners, detailing how the pack of hounds chased the deer around the school grounds a few times. "It was a terrifying experience for me as an adult and I can just imagine that for children it would be very terrifying," she said.
One farmer who phoned in to the show said he had never before seen "an animal so shook looking". "I pitied him," he said. "He was covered in a lather of sweat and his tongue was hanging out."
When he questioned the hunt about their behaviour, he said they told him to "F*** off."
Ward Union bedlam in school playground - Eyewitness accounts
Please click on the links below to hear Wednesday's Liveline programme. Alternatively, choose to listen to a selection of extracts which cover some of the eye witness accounts.
RTE's Liveline Show
Extracts from Liveline show (24 January, 2007)
Video Presentation: Ward Union carted deer hunt
To witness what happens to the deer during a Ward Union hunt, please view our YouTube video presentation by clicking on the following link:
URGENT ACTION ALERTS
Please write to Minister Dick Roche and demand that he stop licensing the Ward Union Hunt.
Minister Dick Roche
Please appeal to Minister Mary Coughlan (she is responsible for animal welfare and the Protection of Animals Act) to intervene to end carted deer hunting.
Minister Mary Coughlan