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Brendan Howlin and Labour Party urged to push for ban on Ireland's cruel bloodsports
20 May 2016

With the election of a new Labour Party leader, ICABS is renewing its call on the party to push for a ban on Ireland's cruel bloodsports. In a letter to Brendan Howlin TD, we pointed to the suffering caused to wildlife by foxhunting and hare coursing.

"A majority of Irish people want these deplorable activities finally outlawed," we stated. "Their continuation damages Ireland's international reputation and a ban is long overdue. There is no justification for allowing the recreational terrorisation and killing of animals."

In the past, Labour has shamefully voted against legislation aimed at ban hunting and coursing, despite a party spokesperson claiming that most Labour politicians are opposed to bloodsports. Please join us today in urging Labour to support efforts to secure a ban on hare coursing, foxhunting and all bloodsports.


Sign the petition: Ban Blood Sports in Ireland Now

Urge the Labour Party to push for a ban on hare coursing, foxhunting and all bloodsports, in line with the majority view that these cruel activities are unacceptable.

Brendan Howlin TD
The Labour Party
17 Ely Place
Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 661 2615

Send a tweet @labour

Leave a comment on Facebook:

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below)

Dear Brendan Howlin

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing and foxhunting outlawed. I urge you and your party to push for a ban on this deplorable animal cruelty.

Yours sincerely,


Videos: Ireland's cruel bloodsports and the humane altneratives

Labour Party TDs and bloodsports

Tommy Broughan, TD (Labour Party, Dublin North-East ):
ICABS has sent a message of thanks to Dublin North East TD, Tommy Broughan, after he abstained from voting in the Wildlife Amendment Bill vote in 2010. "We wish to thank you very much for remaining true to your principles and refusing to vote against the Wildlife Amendment Bill on Tuesday. Your action helped achieve success for this historic bill and bring the cruel ward union hunt to an end. You have our greatest respect and admiration," we stated. Read More

"I remain opposed to all so called blood 'sports'." (February 2010)
"[I] support your call to introduce drag coursing in place of coursing of hares." (September 2003)

On 27th March 2013, Tommy Broughan supported amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to outlaw hare coursing, foxhunting, terrierwork, digging-out, ferreting and fur farming.

Joan Burton, TD (Labour Party, Dublin West):
In March 2013, Joan Burton voted against amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban on some of Ireland's worst acts of cruelty to animals - foxhunting, hare coursing, digging out, terrierwork, ferreting, badger culling, fur farming and the use of animals in circus performances.

Brendan Howlin TD (Labour Party, Wexford):
In March 2013, Brendan Howlin TD voted against an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban on some of Ireland's worst acts of cruelty to animals - foxhunting, digging out, terrierwork, ferreting, badger culling and the use of animals in circus performances.

In March 2011, Labour Party Minister, Brendan Howlin, stated on the Pat Kenny Radio Show that any move to reverse the ban on carted deer hunting "will be a matter for discussion". His statement followed a pre-election assurance from Labour leader, Eamon Gilmore, that the party accepted the ban and wouldn't support a reversal.

In 2010, Brendan Howlin TD voted AGAINST the ban on carted stag hunting.

In 2005, Brendan Howlin TD voted in favour of the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill 2004. The bill was defeated by 67 votes to 50.

Jan O'Sullivan, TD (Labour, Limerick City):
"I do not support blood sports."

Willie Penrose, TD (Labour, Longford Westmeath):
"Longford-Westmeath TD Willie Penrose also said he would not support a ban [on the Ward Union deerhunt]. 'I support rural Ireland. I don't support the Wildlife Bill. I certainly would not support the bill. I'm a rural person with rural views,' he said." (Irish Times, April 29, 2010)

"I speak as a Deputy who is deeply in touch with rural issues and a rural way of life and I strongly oppose the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010, as proposed by the Minister, Deputy Gormley...The Bill before the House is historic in at least one respect, in that, to the best of my knowledge, it is the first occasion since the foundation of the State that a Government has brought a specific Bill before this House to outlaw a country sport...As young people we hunted rabbits in order to secure food or sell it at two shillings unskinned or half a crown skinned...We hunted foxes...One got half a crown for a fox's tail when one brought it in." Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 29 June 2010. Watch on Youtube Deputy Penrose voted against the ban on staghunting.

"[Minister Gormley] reserved his full contempt for Labour. "I find you absolutely shameful." It was difficult to disagree with him. The principled men and women of the Labour Party, who love to take a stand and cleave to it, blithely voting against a long-expressed opposition to animal cruelty and blood sports. No amount of shouting from Willie Penrose from Westmeath could change that, although he got a noisy round of applause from the Ward Union [hunt] people in the public gallery." Irish Times - Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"I have heard from people representing him that the Minister wants to get rid of coursing proposals implemented by a previous Minister, which were excellent. The Green Party was not satisfied and wanted to get rid of them. We say “No” to this today." Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage (Resumed), 29 June 2010.

Sean Sherlock, TD (Labour, Cork East):
"I am in favour of field sports and coursing and I have been at greyhound meetings. The people I represent are those who rear pups." Stated by Sean Sherlock during the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Second Stage, 8 July 2010.

"Cork East TD Sean Sherlock said he would reserve comment on stag hunting until the matter had been discussed internally. 'I believe there must be some sort of regulation but we must not regulate field sports out of existence.'" (Irish Times, April 29, 2010)

"Deputy Sean Sherlock: If [the Minister] were to support the amendment, that would give great solace to the Irish Greyhound Board, the Irish Coursing Club and to every single dog owner throughout the country who courses hares or races greyhounds in such places as Curraheen Park and Youghal." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Second Stage 8 July 2010.

In a September 2014 letter from Mallow Coursing Club to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (obtained by ICABS under Freedom of Information) in relation to licence breaches, it was stated: "As regards the threatened sanctions, our two local TDs Sean Sherlock and Tom Barry have been made aware of this situation. These men attend our meeting and are well aware that this club at all times abide by the rules." In a climb-down, following discussions with Minister Heather Humphreys, the National Parks decided not to sanction Mallow coursing club, despite the licence breach conditions. For more information, see Minister Humphreys Rolls Over For Hare Coursers


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