latest news

Death of ICABS founder member Hilda Allen
07 December 2012

We are sad to report that the death has taken place of ICABS founder member, Hilda Allen. Inspirational anti-blood sports campaigner, Hilda, passed away on Saturday, November 24th 2012 at the age of 93.

Hilda and her husband, Sean, from Dublin, were a formidable duo in the campaign to outlaw hare coursing all through the 60s and 70s. Sean died in 1979, and Hilda carried on campaigning for many more years.

Hilda and Sean recruited many leading lights into the campaign, including celebrities such as comedienne Maureen Potter, actors Des Perry (of Tolka Row fame) and John Cowley (of the Riordans).

They coordinated a huge logistic undertaking in 1976, collecting in excess of 100,000 signatures for a petition against hare coursing, the largest petition in the history of the state at that time, which was presented to the government.

Sadly Hilda didn’t live to see the end of hare coursing or foxhunting, but was gratified to see otter hunting and the Ward Union deer hunt banned.

ICABS will continue to carry on the work that Hilda and Sean began, and hopefully in the not too distant future, the campaign that they devoted their lives to will at last triumph, and we will see these cruel activities outlawed.

May Hilda rest in peace.

ICABS founder member, Hilda Allen.

Appreciation: Hilda Allen
Irish Times, December 24th 2012

A woman who played a major role in the campaign against blood sports for over three decades has passed away.

Hilda Allen (nee McCawley) of Blackrock, Dublin, died of heart failure on November 24th, aged 93.

Hilda became involved with the Irish Council Against Blood Sports shortly after its formation in 1966. Her husband Sean was Irish Council Against Blood Sports chairman and Hilda was equally devoted, as Treasurer and Executive Committee member, to the wildlife protection cause.

Hilda grew up in Rathmines. In her teens, a motor bike rolled over her left foot on a beach, resulting in amputation below the knee. But she never allowed this to diminish her zest for life. She worked for many years with Mitchell’s, the wine merchants, in Kildare Street, later taking up freelance typing as a career.

After her marriage to Sean Allen, an ESB accountant, the couple moved to Dun Laoghaire. Hilda was a great socialite. Though she had no children, she also had no shortage of friends. Her interests ranged from debating societies to a love of theatre and gardening. But her main preoccupation outside working hours was the campaign.

Despite her disability, she travelled to pickets all over the country, carrying a placard outside fields in the depths of winter in remote country districts. She might stop for a rest now and then, but she insisted on continuing until the picket dispersed.

Among her friends and fellow campaigners were comedienne Maureen Potter, actor Desmond Perry (of RTE’s 1960s drama series Tolka Row), and actor John Cowley, of RTE’s The Riordans.

She was a gifted organiser, and her ability was tested to the utmost in 1976 when ICABS launched a national anti hare coursing petition.

Hilda devoted enormous energy to the task, coordinating the nationwide initiative. Months passed, and ICABS counted the signatures. These exceeded 100,000, at the time the largest petition in the history of the State.

She always sought to strike an optimistic note, and she predicted that some day, if not in her own lifetime, a courageous government would ban hare coursing.

She did live to see the otter hunting ban in 1990, and, a full twenty years after, the abolition of carted stag hunting.

Special friends Ron, Fran, John, and Bunny miss her, as do her two Mongolian carers Mogi and Gilda, who lived above her house and developed a close friendship with Hilda, enabling her to continue living at home.

I suspect that the warmth of Hilda’s reception on the “Other Side” would have corresponded roughly to the final tally of the 1976 petition:

A hundred thousand welcomes.

-John Fitzgerald

News Menu | Join | Top | Home