Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Maureen O'Sullivan TD has this week challenged Minister Heather Humphreys on her view that "muzzling has prevented harm coming to hares".

During June's debate on a proposed ban on coursing, Minister Humphreys stated: "I have mentioned the muzzling of greyhounds as well as the conditions which my Department attaches to licences, all of which have demonstrated very positive outcomes for hares."

In a Dail question on Tuesday, Deputy O'Sullivan highlighted recent incidents involving muzzled greyhounds severely mauling hares at coursing meetings - see footage below.

Question 458 - Answered on 29th November, 2016

Maureen O'Sullivan, TD (Dublin Central, Independent)

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if her attention has been drawn to two incidents in which a hare was mauled and suffered severe injuries at Ballinagar coursing, County Offaly and Loughrea coursing, County Galway; if she is still of the view that the sport is well regulated and that muzzling has prevented harm coming to hares in view of the video evidence continually surfacing of hares being injured; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Heather Humphreys TD (Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

Officials of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department attended the coursing meetings at Ballinagar and Loughrea referred to by the Deputy and are examining the video footage provided in relation to both meetings. This may result in discussions with the local coursing clubs and the Irish Coursing Club. I will be happy to release any reports of these meetings following completion of this process.

In August this year, my Department issued licences under the Wildlife Acts to the Irish Coursing Club, covering its affiliated coursing clubs, to capture and tag hares for use at regulated hare coursing meetings for the 2016/17 coursing season, which extends from the end of September 2016 to the end of February 2017.

There are 26 conditions in total associated with the licences issued to the Irish Coursing Club. These conditions, which have been developed and refined over a number of years, cover a wide range of issues, including prohibition on coursing hares more than once a day or coursing sick or injured hares, the need for adequate escapes for hares during coursing and releasing hares in daylight hours after meetings.

The muzzling of greyhounds at coursing meetings is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It is my understanding that the Irish Coursing Club has implemented mandatory muzzling of greyhounds at regulated coursing meetings since the early 1990s. The muzzling of greyhounds appears to have proven effective in reducing the number of hare injuries and deaths at coursing meetings. For example, the percentage of hares released back into the wild after coursing meetings last season was 99.33%.


Express your support for a ban on coursing. Sign and share the petitions

Ireland: Ban cruel hare coursing

Save Irish hares from cruel coursing

Ban horrific hare coursing cruelty in Ireland

Contact Minister Heather Humphreys now and urge to stop licensing hare coursing

Heather Humphreys, TD
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2

Email: Heather.Humphreys@oireachtas.ie, ministers.office@ahg.gov.ie, taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie, wildlifelicence@ahg.gov.ie, Gerry.Leckey@ahg.gov.ie
Tel: +353 (0)1 631 3802 or +353 (0)1 631 3800
Leave a comment on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/heather.humphreysfg
Tweet to: @HHumphreysFG

(If you have time, please compose your own personal letter. Otherwise, feel free to send the short sample letter below. Be assertive, but polite, in all correspondence. Thank you.)

Dear Minister,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to refuse a licence to the Irish Coursing Club.

In coursing, hares suffer and die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and refuse to licence this cruelty.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Urgently contact An Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and An Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Frances Fitzgerald. Ask them to ban hare coursing and give permanent protection to hares.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Fax: 01-6764048
Email: taoiseach@taoiseach.gov.ie

An Tanaiste, Frances Fitzgerald
Department Of Justice
51 St. Stephen's Green
Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 1 602-8202 or +353 1 457 7712
Email: frances.fitzgerald@oir.ie
Tweet to: @FitzgeraldFrncs
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Frances-Fitzgerald/302584593224671

Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

Please appeal to the Minister for Agriculture to remove an exemption for coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Email: michael.creed@oir.ie
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.
Leave a comment on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelcreedtd
Tweet to: @creedcnw

Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses http://www.oireachtas.ie/members-hist/default.asp?housetype=0&HouseNum=32&disp=mem

Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.
Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

The victims of coursing

All hares used in coursing are victims and they all suffer the fear and stress of being violently snatched from their habitats, thrown into crates, transported to coursing compounds and kept in captivity for months. Among the hare injuries and deaths recorded are:

Slideshow: the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

Parliamentary Questions

Join | Top | Home