Iarnrod Eireann contacts hunt about reported track trespass
18 October 2007
Iarnrod Eireann's Chief Safety and Security Officer has contacted a hunt in Wexford after a newspaper described how hounds chased a fox along a track as a train approached.
The move comes following a letter from the Irish Council Against Blood Sports to Iarnrod Eireann CEO, Richard Fearn in which we highlighted an Irish Field account of what happened.
The February 2006 report, which unfortunately only came to our attention recently stated: "...hounds disturbed another fox who ran in the direction of the Slaney River and then proceeded along the centre of the railway line with the full pack in pursuit. As a train came in his direction he skipped right and went to ground beside the line. Thankfully all the hounds were safely accounted for."
Thanking ICABS for bringing the article to his attention, Mr Fearn expressed regret that as the incident reportedly took place last year, no action could now be taken against the hunt in question.
However, he stressed that the hunt has been contacted by the company.
"My Chief Safety and Security Officer has written a follow-up letter to the hunt concerned highlighting our awareness of the article and advising them of the seriousness with which we will take any future examples of trespass on the railway," he said.
Earlier this year, ICABS welcomed Iarnrod Eireann's announcement that they were to contact all hunts to warn them that those caught trespassing on tracks would be prosecuted. Please help keep hunts off railway tracks by responding to our Action Alert below.
If you witness a hunt trespassing on rail lines, urgently contact Iarnrod Eireann. Try to get photos or video footage as these may prove vital in securing a successful prosecution. After alerting Iarnrod Eireann, please notify ICABS. Thank you.
Iarnrod Eireann to contact hunts about trespass
The Chief Executive of Iarnrod Eireann has announced that the company's district managers have been asked to contact their local hunts to warn them that any hunters caught trespassing on to tracks will be prosecuted.
In a letter to an ICABS Supporter in February, the national rail company's CEO, Richard Fearn, wrote: "Noting your concerns that, in particular, mounted foxhunters have trespassed on the railway lately, I have asked my district managers to contact their local hunts directly and to advise them of the seriousness of acts of trespass on the railway."
He also stressed that Iarnrod Eireann "will, and has, prosecuted offenders who commit acts of trespass on the railway".
"Trespass on an operational railway can endanger the lives of both the trespassers and rail users and is considered, both by Iarnrod Eireann and the Courts, as most serious," he added.
ICABS is very pleased with this response. Last year, the company promised to contact a single hunt after one of its members reportedly trespassed on to a track as a train approached. This latest announcement that district managers are to actively address the problem on a national scale, however, is a major step further.
ICABS has today sent Iarnrod Eireann a complete list of Ireland's registered hunting groups along with contact names, addresses and phone numbers.
We have assured the company that our efforts to convince the government to replace animal hunting with drag hunting is ongoing. "Drag hunting not only eliminates the cruelty of hunting but also ensures that the route taken by hunters avoids prohibited land, public roads and railway lines," we stated.