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Seanad Election 2016 - where do the candidates stand on animal cruelty issues?

'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated' - Mahatma Gandhi
'Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation' - Martin Luther King

A guide to the Seanad 2016 election candidates and where they stand on animal cruelty issues. The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is encouraging those eligible to vote to support compassionate candidates.

(a) Nominating Bodies Sub-panel

Cllr Michael Collins (Fianna Fail, Limerick City and County Council)
"I’m an animal lover. I’ve been at many circuses, but none as good as today’s, and I’ve never seen an animal treated badly." Limerick Post, October 2, 2014.

Other Candidates: Tom Brabazon, Deirdre Burke, Declan Carey, John Connolly, Joe Conway, Liam Crowley, Senator Jim D’Arcy, Cllr Jim Finucane, Cllr Mary Howard, Seán MacBride (Retired District Court Judge), Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh, Claire O’Connor, Adrian O’Higgins, Seosamh Ó Laoi, Keith Swanick, Cllr Seamus Walsh, Cllr Fintan Warfield

(b) Oireachtas Sub-panel

Cllr Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fail, Wexford County Council)
Wexford County Councillor Malcolm Byrne has expressed opposition to coursing in Ireland, saying he would "support any legislation at national level that would ban hare coursing". The Fianna Fail politician's statement came in response to an ICABS email in which we highlighted the suffering caused to hares used as live lures in coursing. In September 2010, Cllr Byrne stated: "I am personally opposed to hare coursing, which I view as cruel."

Cllr Anne-Marie Dermody (Fine Gael, South Dublin County)
"I don't get the hunting think and how it could be someone's pleasure!" from a text message to ICABS, May 2014.

Gabrielle McFadden (Fine Gael, Longford Westmeath):
Gabrielle McFadden has not responded to enquiries from ICABS about where she stands on foxhunting and hare coursing.

In November 2015, Gabrielle McFadden asked the Minister for Justice and Equality "her views on the concerns of a company (details supplied) regarding delays in the processing of applications for licences to import and export non-military firearms for its hunting and fishing business" and "the average time it takes for the firearms section of her Department to process applications for import and export licences for non-military firearms; if she is satisfied that there is sufficient staff to process such applications."

Other Candidates: Lorraine Clifford-Lee, Cllr Jennifer Cuffe, Kieran O’Donnell

(a) Nominating Bodies Sub-panel

Senator Paddy Burke (Fine Gael):
"I have no doubt that the ban on coursing in England will be lifted" (Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Committee Stage, 9 March 2010)

Senator Paddy Burke: "It is obvious that the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government did not engage in discussions with the Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation, the coursing clubs and the other organisations represented here. A commonsense approach must now be taken and the Minister must meet those groups so that agreement can be reached." Joint Committee on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, 11th May 2010.

Senator Denis Landy (Labour Party)
nominated by the pro-coursing Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation

Denis Landy was slammed in February 2015 for praising the organisers of Clonmel's coursing cruelty festival and describing the chasing of live hares with greyhounds as “fantastic sport”. Speaking in Seanad Eireann, he stated: “I congratulate and commend all those involved in the running of the 90th national coursing meeting in Clonmel.” Read More

"Out for a walk just heard the sound of the hounds and bugle in the distance - winter has truly arrived" Senator Denis Landy in a tweet, 27 October 2013. ICABS asked Senator Landy if he happened to also hear the cries of a fox when knocked to the ground and torn apart by hounds.

Senator Paschal Mooney (Fianna Fail)
Nominated by National Association of Regional Game Councils whose members are responsible for the shooting of tens of thousands of foxes, deer, birds and other creatures every year.

Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill (Fianna Fail):
nominated by the pro-coursing Irish Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation

What about animal sports, or even, by a further extension, pest control? There are sports such as stag hunting that we are not too used to up in Donegal, but there are many other sports such as hare coursing. Where does that fall with regard to section 12? The section states: "A person shall not ... do, or fail to do, anything or cause or permit anything to be done to an animal that causes injury." Where does that leave the area of sports? Does it have any effect? I know there is other legislation dealing with sports, but where does it leave horse racing, for example? Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012: Committee Stage, 22 May 2012.

Senator Denis O'Donovan (Fianna Fail):
"There is over-regulation within the fishing industry that has driven many people from that industry. Members are now witnessing over-regulation in the greyhound industry at the coursing level or otherwise. I must confess that I have never attended a coursing meeting in my life. The amendment tabled by Fine Gael seeks to address such over-regulation." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Report and Final Stages. Note: This amendment was declared lost.

Senator Denis O'Donovan is in the doghouse after voting against the Government on the proposed "Dog Breeding Establishments Bill". In the Seanad on Wednesday, June 16 last, Senator O'Donovan said he 'took a stand for rural Ireland' and opposed the Bill, which was introduced by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr John Gormley. After meeting more than 150 people involved in coursing and gun clubs, who have expressed concerns about over-regulation and the number of litters a breeding bitch can have in a two-year period, Senator O'Donovan decided to oppose it on the basis that some amendments were needed. From Denis in the Doghouse, Southern Star, 26 June 2010.

Senator Denis O'Donovan was listed as a sponsor of a greyhound race at Curraheen Park in Cork on 4th November 2017 - "The Mc Nulty Cabs & Senator Denis O Donovan 550".

"Irish senator Denis O'Donovan has demanded a cull of the 'vicious' seabirds [seagulls]. Because of fish shortages in the sea, the winged scavengers have taken to 'invading' towns and villages, where they 'attack' children's fish and chips, the parliamentarian said. 'I think it is coming to the stage where they are endangering society,' he told the Seanad, the upper house of parliament in Dublin. Mr O'Donovan insisted it was a 'serious enough issue' and has called for the Dublin parliament to have a debate on dangerous seagulls after the summer recess." Irish Independent, July 20 2015.

Senator Pat O'Neill (Fine Gael):
nominated by National Association of Regional Game Councils whose members are responsible for the shooting of tens of thousands of foxes, deer, birds and other creatures every year.

In October 2015, Senator Pat O'Neill attended the AGM of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC).

"Will the Minister clarify whether wild animals are included in the definition of what constitutes an animal under this section? I refer, for example, to wild birds and fish. The Bill may be in conflict with certain aspects of the Wildlife Act on which hunters rely to validate their sports activities." Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012: Committee Stage, 22 May 2012.

Cllr Shane P O'Reilly (Fianna Fail, Cavan County Council)
"I totally am against both [foxhunting and hare coursing]. I love horse and greyhound racing. I was at a coursing meet with a friend of mine a few years ago, it disturbed's shocking the terrible treatment of animals in this country." from a message to a local constituent, May 2014.

Cllr John Sheahan (Fine Gael, Limerick City and County Council)
In October 2010, Cllr John Sheahan placed an advert in the Glin hare coursing meeting booklet. It stated: "Best wishes from John Sheahan, Local County Councillor"

In 2013, Cllr John Sheahan called for an "open season on the hen harrier" - one of Ireland's rarest birds. The call was strongly condemned by the Irish Raptor Study Group who said "Cllr Sheahan’s call for an open season on Hen Harriers is highly irresponsible and can be interpreted as incitement to break both Irish and EU law. Hen Harriers are protected under Irish and EU legislation."

BirdWatch Ireland also condemned "in the strongest terms" John Sheahan's "highly irresponsible" comments. Group CEO Alan Lauder stated: "Cllr Sheahan's ill-informed and short-sighted statement shows how far we have to travel as a state in prioritising our natural heritage over the self-interest of individuals." He added: "Such statements can have far-reaching consequences. The Hen Harrier is protected under both Irish and European Union law, and Cllr. Sheahan's statement could be viewed as an incitement to break these laws. For any decision-maker to hold such views in the 21st Century is alarming. When that individual actually sits on the Advisory Committee of the Environmental Protection Agency and also represents Ireland on an EU committee that helps form policy on the environment, natural resources and biodiversity, as Cllr. Sheahan does, then it becomes pitiful, and even dangerous."

Cllr Michael Smith (Fianna Fail, Tipperary County Council)
Opposition to the Government's hunting proposals was also expressed at last month's meeting of North Tipperary Co Council, where local councillors spoke of the importance of hunting in the county...Cllr Michael Smith (FF) also supported the motions, and while none of the councillors would be in favour of animal cruelty, he said there should be more dialogue between the stakeholders involved. From an article in the Nenagh Guardian, 10th July 2010.

Other Candidates: Cllr Maria Byrne, Cllr Paul Daly (Westmeath County Council), Cllr Pat Hayes, Cllr Tim Lombard, Cllr Colm Markey (Louth County Council), Cllr Frank O’Flynn (Cork County Council)

(b) Oireachtas Sub-panel

Cllr Victor Boyhan (Independent, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council)
In 2010, Cllr Victor Boyhan expressed support for a ban on the Ward Union. "I am absolutely against this horrific activity," he stated, branding the deerhunters a "barbaric lot". In November 2014, he voted against a council motion which described urban foxes as a "problem" and which called for action to be taken to deal with them.

Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh (Sinn Fein, Mayo County Council)
"Yes [add me to the list of Sinn Fein politicians in favour of a ban on bloodsports]" from a tweet to ICABS, June 2015.

Senator Trevor O Clochartaigh (Sinn Fein):
Sinn Fein Senator, Trevor O Clochartaigh, has confirmed that the party "will not be supporting the repeal of the ban on stag hunting". He said that Sinn Fein "consider stag hunting to be a bloodsport [that] causes the infliction of cruelty to animals". November 2011.

Grace O'Sullivan (Green Party, Waterford)
"Having spent over ten years on Greenpeace ships, including the Rainbow Warrior, Grace is an internationally renowned environmentalist. She describes her activism as fighting injustice against the environment and communities, and is contesting this election to ensure that the environmental rights and concerns of her community are represented on the European stage." from the Green Party website, 2014.

Cllr Jennifer Whitmore (Independent, Wicklow County Council)
"Short answer...Yes" - in reply to an ICABS email enquiry asking "Are you in favour of a ban on cruel hare coursing and foxhunting?" October 2014.

Other Candidates: Senator Michael Comiskey, Noel Coonan, Connie Gerety-Quinn, Anthony Lawlor (Former TD)

(a) Nominating Bodies Sub-panel

Senator Terry Brennan (Labour Party):
"I welcome the Bill and wish the Minister well in its completion in the not too distant future. The hunting groups and gun clubs will welcome it also. I look forward to its introduction in the near future." Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2012, 4th July 2012

Senator Maurice Cummins (Fine Gael):
"Section 12 prohibits people from allowing animals to suffer unnecessarily, whether through direct physical abuse, recklessness or negligence. This section does not apply to activity occurring during the normal course of hunting, fishing or coursing. No decent person who is involved in coursing would have a problem with the provisions specifying that the cruelty provisions may apply if an animal is hunted after being released in an exhausted, mutilated or injured condition or if a hare is coursed without reasonable chance of escape. Some people may enjoy such practices but 99% of coursing clubs would welcome this provision." Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012: Second Stage, Seanad Eireann, 3rd May 2012.

Gerald Nash (Labour Party, Louth):
Former TD Gerald Nash is a patron of Drogheda Animal Rescue Centre. His views on blood sports are currently unknown.

Cllr Joe Neville (Fine Gael, Kildare County Council)
"Absolutely." In response to an ICABS tweet - "We hope you favour a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing which are forms of cruelty to animals" (9th September 2014)

Senator Ned O'Sullivan (Fianna Fail, Kerry):
Speaking in the Seanad in July 2014, Ned O'Sullivan stated: "I am very much against seagulls." He branded the birds "vermin" and called for the government to do something to stop them. The Irish Independent reported that his remarks were jeered by other members of the Seanad.

Other Candidates: Senator Gerard Craughwell, Cllr Noel Cribbin, Cllr Kate Feeney, Cllr Robbie Gallagher, Paul Gavan, Senator Terry Leyden, Madeline Spiers

(b) Oireachtas Sub-panel

Jerry Buttimer (Fine Gael, Cork South Central):
"As someone who has had a family involvement in greyhounds over the years, I think it is important that we understand the massive economic activity that the greyhound industry generates in Ireland...We must examine the issue of making greyhound racing and horse racing sustainable in this country. We must look at the betting industry here." Speaking as a TD - Welfare of Greyhounds Bill 2011, 30th June 2011.

Cllr Maire Devine (Sinn Fein, South Dublin County Council)
"Tá [add me to the list of Sinn Fein politicians in favour of a ban on bloodsports]" from a tweet to ICABS, June 2015.

Colm Keaveney (Independent [formerly Labour Party], Galway East):
"There is an economic argument for discussing the continuation of the scheme. If my figures are correct, last year we exported almost 115,000 animals abroad under live export. In terms of the cost of that scheme over a five year reference period, is it correct to state that it was a €26 million scheme? Let us suppose the average revenue secured for the cost of an animal was €1,000. That represents almost €115 million to the local economy in terms of the potential spend vis-à-vis the cost of the scheme. There is a solid economic argument we should consider in this area." Colm Keaveney TD, Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees, 25 October 2012.

Joe O’Reilly (Fine Gael, Cavan Monaghan):
"Also central to my childhood was sport, by which I mean people going out to shoot in November, people going coursing or various forms of outdoor sport with beagles. Regardless of whether one likes it, the Ward Union Hunt is an integral part of rural society and rural life. The deer is not at risk in the physical sense... I am in favour of the Ward Union Hunt and have no quibbles about that." Speaking as a Senator, Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 30 June 2010

"I live beside a hunt known as the Drumlin Hounds in Cootehill. I am familiar with members of the hunt and know the dogs are well fed, cared for in an exemplary fashion and kept in the best possible conditions. Those involved in the hunt have an affection for their animals, are outdoors people and love sport...Next Friday week, I will attend a hunt ball in the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon in the Minister of State's constituency. I do so every year as the ball is an opportunity to meet a wonderful group of people from the Roscommon hunt who have a passion for what they do and love and care for their animals." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Committee Stage, 10 February 2010.

Cllr Cian Prendiville (Anti Austerity Alliance, Limerick City and County Council)
"I support a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting" from a tweet to ICABS, September 2014.

Cllr Neale Richmond (Fine Gael, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council)
"No I'm not [in favour of a ban on hare coursing and foxhunting] but it needs to regulated and monitored." from a tweet to ICABS, May 2014. In response, ICABS stated "Regulated and monitored animal cruelty is still animal cruelty. There is no place for animal cruelty in modern Ireland."

Other Candidates: Cllr John Campbell, Cllr Daithí de Róiste, Cllr Paul McAuliffe, Senator Tony Mulcahy, Cllr Jennifer Murnane O’Connor

(a) Nominating Bodies Sub-panel

Frances Black
In 2011, singer Frances Black was one of 37 who signed a letter published in the Irish Times, condemning cruelty to Irish greyhounds and calling on the Department of Agriculture to stop plans by the Irish Greyhound Board to develop and manage greyhound racing tracks in China.

Senator Paul Coghlan (Fine Gael):
"The Minister of State is a reasonable man and he will accept how well regulated is the coursing industry." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Committee Stage, 9 March 2010

Senator Paul Coghlan raised the hackles of one of the Green's new twin babies in the Seanad on Thursday when he declared that Fine Gael is "completely opposed" to John Gormley's proposed ban on stag hunting. "It is a legitimate and worthwhile country pursuit and a sport that is highly beneficial for tourism. I cannot discern where cruelty is involved," he said, much to the disgust of Senator Niall O Brolchain. (The Irish Times - February 27, 2010)

Cllr Joe Kelly (Independent, Waterford City and County Council)
"I support your campaign against blood sports and the banning of fox hunting as allowed for at this time. Any cruelty to any animal is wrong and must be opposed." from an email to ICABS, September 2014.

Cllr Mike Kennelly (Fine Gael, Kerry County Council)
Cllr Kennelly follows Listowel coursing club on Twitter. ICABS has asked him to clarify his stance on the issue.

Cllr Tom MacSharry (Fianna Fail, Sligo County Council)
"I have to say that as someone who grew up surrounded by animals, I am totally against all forms of animal cruelty, including bloodsports" from a text message to ICABS, December 2014.

Cllr Tom McEllistrim (Fianna Fail, Kerry County Council - Tralee)
In a statement issued in September 2007, Tom McEllistrim welcomed the licensing of hare coursing and described the blood sport as "thoroughly humane". Responding, ICABS stated: "Deputy McEllistrim clearly doesn't comprehend the meaning of the word humane." For more details, please see ICABS blasts "coursing is humane" claim

In 2005, foxes and mink were doomed to lives of misery on fur farms following the rejection by Dail Eireann of the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill 2004. The bill was defeated by 67 votes to 50. Tom McEllistrim was among the TDs who shamefully voted AGAINST the bill.

Cllr Aengus O'Rourke (Fianna Fail, Westmeath County Council)
"I am totally opposed to any form of animal abuse, neglect or cruelty. I would support a call to ban any 'sporting' activity that would cause or lead to the stress, injury or death of an animal." Cllr O'Rourke in an email to ICABS, June 2015.

"Yes I would be in favour of a ban on cruel blood sports." from a tweet to ICABS, October 2014.

Cllr Barry Ward (Fine Gael, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council)
In 2014, Cllr Ward proposed a motion calling on the National Parks and Wildlife Service to address the urban fox “problem”.

Other Candidates: Niall Blaney, Senator Colm Burke, Peter J. Casey, John Crowe, Donnacha Curley, Cllr Aidan Davitt (Westmeath County Council), Arthur Griffin, John Hanafin, Senator Imelda Henry, Cllr Gerry Horkan, Mary Hughes, Cllr Niall Kelleher, Cllr William Lavelle, Seán McKiernan, Eoin Neylon, Senator Catherine Noone, Linda O’Shea Farren, Cllr Danny Owens, Mailo Power, Cllr Bob Ryan.

(b) Oireachtas Sub-panel

Cllr Catherine Ardagh (Fianna Fail, Dublin City Council)
"Yes [I am in favour of a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing]." from a tweet to ICABS, October 2014.

James Bannon (Former TD, Fine Gael, Longford Westmeath):
"The Fine Gael Party will strongly oppose any change to the existing licensing arrangements for stag and fox hunting. Any new regulations made by the Minister, or his Government, will be reversed." (Speaking during the Field Sport Regulation Adjournment Debate on 11 March 2010. To read the full text of the debate, Click Here).

"I emphasise that I am totally opposed to this legislation [to ban the Ward Union deerhunt], as a representative of Longford-Westmeath and as a countryman who supports the rural pursuits and unique heritage and tradition of field sports...hunting creates a sense of community in rural areas. My farm has facilitated hunting throughout my life and both my father and grandfather before him allowed the hunts to pass through our lands. I will continue to allow them do so. Hunting unites farmers and sports people for a common recreational purpose and tradition. I am deeply concerned at the appalling actions of the Minister and his wilting Green Party, which are aimed at destroying country wide field sports...I was shocked to see on the Minister's website the no-holes-barred assertion that the Green Party intended to attack coursing and fox hunting and secure a legislative ban on all blood sports...I cannot emphasise strongly enough the devastation to the sporting, economic, leisure and tourism activities of any ban on field sports, hare coursing or stag hunting. Any such move would be detrimental to the country as a whole and to the countryside in particular...Banning hunting, which is a strong tradition in rural Ireland going back centuries and over many generations, would be a threat to the rural way of life and would be strongly resisted by rural people and by people living in towns who participate in rural sports, many of whom I am delighted to welcome onto my farm every spring. " Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, Thursday, 24 June 2010

"I can assure the Minister of State that any attempt to ban hunting, which is a strong tradition in rural Ireland going back centuries and many generations, would be a threat to the rural way of life and would be strongly resisted by rural people...Deer and fox hunting have a long history in this country since the 19th century and earlier." Stated by James Bannon during Field Sport Regulation, Adjournment Debate, 11 March 2010.

Ray Butler (Former TD, Fine Gael, Meath West):
In March 2013, Ray Butler 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.

"I have been involved in greyhound racing all my life, it is in my blood. I have trained, raced and bred greyhounds. The greyhound industry employs 10,500 people, part-time and full-time. That is why the Government provides significant funding because the industry is both a significant employer and revenue stream for the Government. In some areas greyhound racing is like the GAA club because local people have their coursing dogs and greyhounds...With regard to the drugs situation, most owners and breeders say the fines do not fit the crime and the system used on the track and at coursing meetings will have to change." Ray Butler, Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine Indecon Report: Bord na gCon, 21 October 2014.

Padraig MacLochlainn (Former TD, Sinn Fein, Donegal):
In a January 2016 Dail question, Padraig MacLochlainn TD referred to the hunting and shooting of animals as "sporting and leisure activities" and asked the Minister for Arts and Heritage to address the concerns of those involved - "To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she is aware of the grievance within some rural communities that responsibility for sporting and leisure activities such as dog trials, shooting and game hunting in bogs and other State owned lands, passed from the Land Commission to the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 2000, without any consultation; and if she will ensure that the concerns of those rural communities are heard and acted upon."

"Councillor Padraig MacLochlainn said dog owners 'have a responsibility' to ensure their dog is kept under control. He said: 'It gets a laugh when it is raised but its very, very serious matter. There are children playing around that Green and there's a real risk of toxoplasmosis, which leads to the loss of sight - it's a serious health risk...Dog owners have a responsibility, nobody is allowed to have a dog out without a leash, it is a very, very serious matter.'" Dogs fall foul of local councillors, The Inish Times, 2007

"Colr MacLochlainn added: 'The law states clearly that dogs should be tied up and locked up, not roaming the streets. I am a dog lover myself, but it is the responsibility of the dog owners to look after their dogs - and make sure this does not happen again. They have a responsibilty to young children.'" Calling time on stray dogs, Derry Journal, 31 August 2007

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD (Former TD, Labour Party, Dublin Bay North):
In an October 2011 Dail Question, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Agriculture "if he will reaffirm his commitment to end fur farming" and "if the animal health and welfare Bill will deal with this issue". However, less than two years later in March 2013, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin voted against amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban fur farming.

He also voted against amendments to the Bill which aimed to outlaw foxhunting, hare coursing, digging out, terrierwork, ferreting, badger culling and the use of animals in circus performances.

Other Candidates: Cllr Nigel Dineen, Senator Cáit Keane, Cllr Deirdre O’Donovan, Ciarán Staunton

(a) Nominating Bodies Sub-panel

Cllr Sean Power (Fianna Fail, Kildare County Council)
"The hunt has a long and distinguished record in Ireland and a proud tradition. Most villages have pictures of hunts going back over many years and there is something beautiful about watching a hunt in action. Man has always hunted. Today, that hunt takes on a different meaning but people appreciate that it has a proud historic record. This Bill has attracted much publicity. People who do not hunt or engage in rural activities have little understanding or appreciation of why others partake in the activity and the joy, fun and craic that people have on a hunt...The Ward Union Hunt Club has been operating for more than 150 years and is the only club with a stag hunt. It has approximately 200 active members. I know some of these people personally and I regard them as normal, natural people. In any group of 200 people one can select a few and try to tarnish them all with the same brush. The same could be said of the 166 Deputies. The members of the Ward Union Hunt Club are normal people who enjoy a particular activity. From my knowledge of them, they are animal lovers who take great pleasure in participating in a stag hunt...I regret the introduction of legislation to criminalise a long and proud tradition in Ireland." Speaking as a TD during the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010, 24 June 2010. Despite expressing support for the Ward Union hunt, Deputy Power voted in favour of a ban on stag hunting.

"I was a greyhound owner in the past and my family was involved down through the years in the industry. I like a night at the dogs. In recent years, the issue of clerical abuse has received a great deal of publicity. However, as a former altar boy, my experience of the church was much different. I was an altar boy to a priest who loved both horse and greyhound racing and I had the pleasure of travelling around the country to attend horse and greyhound race meetings and even the odd coursing meeting. I learned a great deal and my experience with this priest was joyous and educational. I am grateful for the education I received about greyhounds and horses." Speaking as Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children during a Dail debate on the Greyhound Industry [Doping Regulation] Bill 2006, 8th June 2006.

Other Candidates: Senator Eamonn Coghlan, Senator Martin Conway, Senator Mark Daly, Lorraine Dempsey, John Dolan, Cllr Rosaleen O’Grady

(b) Oireachtas Sub-panel

Paudie Coffey (Former TD, Fine Gael, Waterford):
"Can the Minister reassure the House that in his tenure as the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, he will not bring forth any legislation that will affect the hunting of foxes, coursing or any other shooting or hunting pursuits that are traditional in Ireland? Can he give a categorical assurance today that this will be an end to it?...The Ward Union Hunt has been a responsible organisation in carrying out its pursuits and activities. It has always complied with regulations and the licensing conditions put on it. Much of its resources and those of the State were used to ensure it carried out its activities in a proper way." Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Committee Stage, 2nd July 2010

"Those involved in these rural pursuits [e.g. hunting] are not breaking any law; they are only doing what previous generations did. They are concerned that the Bill will affect the viability of these pursuits, in the process threatening their existence. I can appreciate their concerns, which is why we have tabled amendments to protect an indigenous industry that dates back many generations." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Committee Stage, 9th March 2010

"I was in Clonmel [at the hare coursing finals] and I did not witness any animal cruelty that you refer to." (a tweet from Paudie Coffey to ICABS, February 13th, 2014.

Mary Fitzpatrick (Former Councillor, Fianna Fail)
As a candidate in the 2014 European Parliament election, she signed a Eurogroup for Animals animal welfare pledge, including "I will strive to ensure that animals are recognised as sentient beings in all legislation that comes before the Parliament and strive to ensure all existing animal welfare related legislation is properly enforced..."

Kevin Humphreys (Former TD, Labour Party, Dublin Bay South):
In March 2013, Kevin Humphreys 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.

Cllr Mary Roche (Independent, Waterford City and County Council)
"Personally I would ban all blood sports." from a tweet to ICABS, May 2014.

Other Candidates: Cllr Maura Hopkins (Roscommon County Council), Jonathan Irwin, Cllr Niall Ó Donnghaile (Belfast City Council), Senator Tom Sheahan, Cllr Thomas J. Welby, Senator Diarmuid Wilson


Senator Ivana Bacik (Labour Party, Dun Laoghaire):
"I am asking you to refuse a licence to the Ward Union deer hunt," Senator Bacik stated in a letter to Environment Minister, John Gormley. "The Irish Council Against Blood Sports are mounting a campaign against this, which I support." (October 2007)

ICABS has thanked Senator Ivana Bacik for refusing to vote against a ban on the Ward Union. The Irish Times has reported that the Labour Party senator abstained in a Seanad vote on the Wildlife Amendment Bill. 01 July 2010. Read More

Senator David Norris (Independent):
"The spectacle of fox hunting is most attractive, although not for the fox. However, we must do something to root out the horrible practice of live hare coursing. There is simply no justification for it if we are concerned about the welfare of small animals. I believe it is bad for the moral welfare of the people who watch the sport. No decent person should take pleasure from the hunting to death of a small, frightened animal. I agree with Senator Mooney about education - it is an important element in encouraging people to respect wildlife." (16 November 2000).

"I heard a Member on the Government side attempt to defend the obscenity of coursing, which is indefensible." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Second Stage, 26 January 2010.

"In case anybody thinks I am red in tooth and claw in terms of hunting, I leave a question mark over fox hunting but disdain most other forms. I consider hare coursing to be a particularly damnable and degrading pursuit and I condemn it outright." Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009: Committee Stage, 10 February 2010.

Senator Averil Power (Independent):
Senator Averil Power has condemned hare coursing as a "cruel pursuit" and called for a ban on the activity. During a Senate debate on Animal Health and Welfare Bill on 20 June 2012, Senator Power stated: "While I welcome the improvements in animal welfare provided for in the Bill I am disappointed that the Government decided against banning live hare coursing. As the Minister is aware, the practice has been banned in most other countries, including the UK and Northern Ireland, and it is my strong personal view that it is a cruel pursuit. Other countries have managed to create a sport out of drag coursing without inflicting pain and cruelty on animals.

Other Candidates: Senator Sean Barrett, Sabina Brennan, Thomas Clonan, Oisín Coghlan (Director, Friends of the Earth), Maeve Cox, Edward Davitt, Eoin Meehan, Sean Melly, William Priestley, Lynn Ruane, Anthony Staines, Ethna Tinney,


Senator Ronan Mullen (Independent):
In a May 2014 email to the National Association of Regional Game Councils (whose members are responsible for the shooting of tens of thousands of foxes, deer, birds and other creatures every year), Ronan Mullen stated "I am writing to you in relation to your email to all Oireachtas members in March. In my acknowledgement of that email I expressed my support to the NARGC and the collation of sports shooting groups. I note with regret that there are fresh proposals by An Garda Siochana to ban a number of classes of firearms. I understand that the Gardai have submitted proposals to the Minister for Justice which, inter alia, seek to widen the class of firearms banned to include weapons of .22 calibres and all pump action and semi-automatic shotguns which are capable of holding more than three rounds and all semi-automatic centre fire rifles. You will recall that when the lawful rights of firearms holders were threatened I spoke out against the government of the day...I wish to restate in very clear terms that I will work with your organisation and all other groups which are part of the collation of organisations to protect the rights of sports shooting enthusiasts...I hope you can recommend me to your members as a supporter of the rights of sport shooting enthusiasts in the European Election on Friday. Is mise le meas, Rónán"

Brendan Price (Independent):
Brendan Price is founder of the Irish Seal Sanctuary, and a founder member of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

Other Candidates: Jerry Beades, David Begg, Deirdre Burke, Pádraig Ó Céidigh, Paul D’Alton, Martin Daly, Máire Darker Daly, Karen Devine, Owen Joseph Dinneen, Luke Field, Pearce Flannery, Ross Golden-Bannon, Laura Harmon, Senator Aideen Hayden, Rory Hearne, Alice-Mary Higgins, Higgins, John, Carol Hunt, Barry Johnston, Christy Kenneally, Michael McDowell, Daragh McGreal, Michael Sean Molloy, Paddy Monahan, Eddie Murphy, Enda Padraig O’Coineen, Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, Kieran Rose.

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