Minister Gormley's statement on latest hunt licence
Mr John Gormley T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government stated today (12 September 2008) that he had notified the Ward Union Hunt of his decision to grant the Hunt a licence under the Wildlife Act, 1976 with a number of new conditions.
Section 26 of the Wildlife Act, 1976, provides that the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government may issue a licence for the hunting of stags with a pack of stag hounds. The Minister has examined the Ward Union Hunt's licence application for the 2008/2009 season and he has decided to issue a licence to the Hunt subject to thirty four conditions.
In granting the licence for the forthcoming season, the Minister took account of the High Court settlement reached with the Ward Union Hunt earlier in the year relating to the conditions attached to the previous licence. The Minister also took into account the reports by officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of his Department who monitored last season's hunt meetings. The Minister was particularly concerned with the protection of the deer from undue stress and two new conditions have been included on the new licence to reflect his concerns in this regard.
The new conditions allow the deer to travel at least 2 kilometres before the hounds are released or if this cannot be confirmed the hounds may not be released until 30 minutes after the release of the deer. In addition, the hounds must not encounter the deer at close quarters and will be required to withdraw to a distance of 150 metres. These new conditions will still allow the hounds to pick up the scent of the deer but address concerns that the hounds should be kept well away from the deer.
The other new conditions on the licence relate to limiting the size of the hunt and public safety issues.
The Minister also said that officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of his Department will continue to monitor hunt meetings to ensure compliance with the conditions of the licence.
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