Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question No. 81
Roisin Shortall (Labour Party): To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his attention has been drawn to the large scale destruction of farm and other property, often running to thousands of euro, by the unauthorised use of such lands for the purposes of live hunting; the plans he has to safeguard the interests and property of landowners in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Answered on 29th January 2004
Minister for Agriculture and Food, Joe Walsh (Fianna Fail): The issue of entry by a hunt onto private lands is in each instance a matter for the landowner himself/herself insofar as the vindication of their rights to enjoyment of their property and the issue of trespass is concerned. There are already protections against trespass in place to which landowners may, if they so choose, seek redress and also well-established legal mechanisms for dealing with damage to private property. It is my belief that fox hunts generally will and do respect the wishes of farmers and other landowners regarding hunts entering onto their lands by seeking the agreement of landowners prior to hunting over their property. Where issues of concern to landowners may arise, these are generally resolved at local level.
I am not aware of large scale destruction of farm or other property by fox hunts. Indeed I would make the point that it is clearly not in any event in the interests of hunts themselves to damage property in the course of their activities.
Given the foregoing I have no plans for any additional measures in this area.