European Elections 2014: Irish Candidates and Animal Issues

Before you vote in the upcoming local and European elections, please ask candidates where they stand on the issues of fox hunting, hare coursing and other animal cruelty issues. Please choose compassionate candidates on Friday 23 May.

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Views of European Parliament election candidates

Help us expand this list. Question candidates about where they stand and let us know their responses.

The European elections will take place in Ireland on 23 May 2014 when a total of 11 MEPs will be elected in three constituencies: Dublin, Midlands-North-West and South. Find out more on the European Parliament in Ireland website.

European Elections - Dublin Constituency

Nessa Childers MEP (Independent, Dublin Constituency)
"Nessa is fervently anti-coursing." from an email from the office of Nessa Childers MEP, December 2011.

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..."

Mary Fitzpatrick (Fianna Fail, Dublin Constituency)
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..."

Brian Hayes, TD (Fine Gael, Dublin Constituency)
"Fine Gael has committed to reversing the ban on stag hunting. As a Party, we are not opposed to countryside sports..." (From an email to an ICABS supporter, February 2011)

Paul Murphy MEP (Socialist Party, Dublin Constituency)
Paul Murphy MEP has been active on many animal welfare issues at European Level. He has highlighted the plight of the Galgos in Spain, banning the fur trade, etc

"The issue of the fishing of bluefin tuna is an issue that has come up in the European Parliament. Paul Murphy MEP and the Socialist Party oppose the fishing of bluefin tuna and have always taken a position of voting for measures to end the practice of fishing this endangered species. In the next period as the budget and the Common Fisheries Policy is debated in the Parliament you can be assured of Paul Murphy's support for the protection of Bluefin tuna." From a letter to ICABS from the office of Paul Murphy MEP, 13 August 2012.

The campaign against hare coursing "is a campaign that [Paul Murphy MEP] fully supports". from an email from Paul Murphy MEP's office, February 2012.

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..."

Eamon Ryan (Green Party, Dublin Constituency)
"I am firmly opposed to the current practice of fox hunting and hare coursing in the country which I feel cannot be defended on the grounds of preserving rural traditions or indeed any other conservation or rural development arguments.

In January 2012, Eamon Ryan attended an anti-coursing protest outside the Department of Agriculture in Dublin.

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..."

Cllr Brid Smith (People Before Profit Alliance, Dublin Constituency)
"I am with you on blood sports. They should be banned." from a tweet to ICABS, 29 March 2014.

Damon Wise (Fis Nua candidate, Dublin Constituency)
"When I was at college in Brighton I was a member of Brighton Animal Rights Campaign. I once left in the early hours of the morning and took a train to Lewis and walked up the hill to go to a farm where a fox hunt was to take place. Myself and Jason were stopped and searched when we went up the main road, and sent back; our colleagues got through and ran a false trail to confuse the hunting dogs. We have fundraised for a number of charities involving animals such as Greenpeace, WWF, ISPCA and Dogs Trust, and have fundraised for a local animal shelter called Second Chances. As a green, social justice party we believe that our duty of care as caretakers of this planet includes animals as well as humans." from an email to ICABS, May 2014.

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..."

European Elections - Midlands North West Constituency

Senator Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail, Midlands North West Constituency)
"I am shocked that I do not see any evidence of the Government’s promise made by Deputy Shane McEntee and Deputy Phil Hogan to repeal the ban on stag hunting. Will an amendment be tabled on Committee Stage? Fine Gael rose up the people in the RISE organisation by giving specific promises and a specific commitment that stag hunting in County Meath would be reinstated. We find now that this was just what I must say were barefaced lies told to the people by Fine Gael... I expected to see a provision for the reinstatement of stag hunting but there is nothing in the Bill to do with stag hunting. Those promises are just thrown on the bonfire of power. The Ministers, Deputies Hogan and McEntee conveniently and completely discarded the promises they had made to the people. " Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2012, 4th July 2012. Watch on Youtube

The Irish Times of 15 December 2009 reported that at a pro-hunt meeting at Trim Castle Hotel, then TD Thomas Byrne said he was not comfortable with the proposed ban on carted deerhunting but that he would be supporting the government. He told hunters that Fianna Fail would not stand for any other prohibitions on hunting.

Matt Carthy (Sinn Fein, Midlands North West Constituency)
In October 2013, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports thanked Monaghan County Councillor Matt Carthy for proposing a motion condemning illegal cockfighting in Monaghan. The motion - "Monaghan County Council condemns the practice of cock-fighting and we call on the Gardai to initiate a major crackdown on this practice in our county" - was adopted unanimously.

Mark Dearey (Green Party, Midlands North West Constituency)
"You can continue to enjoy the essence of the pastime on the basis of a drag hunt where the scent is dragged, rather than releasing a wild animal - but they turn their noses up at that...The other option is the release of the deer and its recapture before the hunt - the scent remains, but it doesn't lead to the animal being cornered, and in some cases killed. It's an exercise in terrorising the poor animal." Speaking as a Senator, Sunday Business Post, 04 April 2010

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, TD (Independent, Midlands North West Constituency)
On 27th March 2013, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan supported an amendment to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to outlaw fur farming.

"Roscommon/South Leitrim has massive potential to increase it share of tourism revenue from what is now an estimated €52 million/ per year...We have umpteen lakes suitable for fishing, shooting..." From the tourism section of Luke Flanagan's website.

Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP (Fianna Fail, Midlands North West Constituency)
In March 2004, Pat the Cope Gallagher - as Minister of State at the Department of the Environment - defended the licensing of the cruel Ward Union deer hunt, saying: "Section 26 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended, which governs the licensing of the hunting of deer by stag hounds, refers generically to deer, and the question of whether deer are domestic or wild is not an issue in that section...[This is] sufficient to empower the Minister to licence the Ward Union hunt." He was responding to a call from the late Tony Gregory TD that "this matter demands action and a resolute stand against the vested interests involved in torturing helpless animals."

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. Pat the Cope Gallagher was among the 62 Fianna Fail TDs who voted AGAINST the bill.

In November 2009, Pat the Cope Gallagher was strongly criticised by animal welfare campaigners after he appealed to the government to reconsider its plans to phase out cruel fur farming. The Donegal Democrat reported that Fianna Fail MEP Gallagher "said he will be asking the government to re-consider the position on fur farming which would see two mink farms close in south west Donegal." In a letter to Mr Gallagher, ICABS highlighted the suffering endured by mink and foxes on Irish fur farms. "Regardless of the small amount of jobs supported by this cruelty in Donegal or the euros it generates, nothing will ever change the fact that it is a disgraceful, disgusting and depraved industry," we stated. Witness the cruelty of Ireland's fur farming

Marian Harkin MEP (Independent, Midlands North West Constituency)
"It would appear logical to me that drag hunting should provide better enjoyment for horse riders. Since galloping and jumping would appear to be central to enjoying a day out, there is certainty of getting that every day with a drag. The also an advantage in going only where riders are welcome and would also avoid the damage caused to lands and fences which often occurs in a random hunt." (as a TD in March 2004).

"I oppose live hare coursing and will support any measure which aims to restrict or eliminate it." (as a TD in October 2003)

In 2005, Marian Harkin TD voted in favour of the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill 2004 which sought to ban fur farming in Ireland. The bill was defeated by 67 votes to 50.

Jim Higgins MEP (Fine Gael, Midlands North West Constituency)
"I am totally and unequivocally anti-blood sports. I think foxhunting is appealing to the lowest possible instincts in so-called civilised men. It is manifest barbaric cruelty." (from a 2003 statement from the then Senator Jim Higgins)

In 2007, Jim Higgins MEP was thanked for signing Written Declaration 0002/2007 which aimed to secure an EU ban on bullfighting.

In 2007, Jim Higgins MEP described crows and magpies as "pests" and accused them of causing "environmental havoc". He claimed that "a major national cull is needed to control their numbers" and that a bounty should be considered. The calls for a bounty was dismissed by the then Minister for Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamon O Cuiv.

Mairead McGuinness MEP, (Fine Gael, Midlands North West)
"On tonight's The Frontline we'll debate animal rights and rural Ireland. We'll be joined by Mairead McGuinness MEP (who opposes John Gormley's measures) [to ban carted deer hunting]..." From a Frontline programme statement, 22 Mar 2010.

Senator Ronan Mullen (Independent, Midlands North West)
"Despite our angst about animal welfare legislation in the past year, it would be terrible if we were to lose our nerve regarding the need to improve animal welfare legislation. The primary animal welfare legislation in Ireland will be 100 years old next year. The Protection of Animals Act 1911 is still the principal Act, but it was clearly written for a different era and it has many failings. For example, it is difficult to believe, but true, that attending an animal fight is not unlawful. One can dock the tail of a pup up to one month old without using an anaesthetic. These provisions may not seem important in the context of the economic crisis, but they have to do with how we civilise ourselves and the culture we are seeking to achieve. I would hate if Ministers and politicians felt paralysed to deal with such issues for fear they would be accused of trivialising matters. These issues are important and need to be attended to." from a Seanad speech, 21 October 2010.

"I do not subscribe to the slippery slope argument. It is possible to reserve one’s position on hunting while supporting the idea that the requirements of the Bill should extend to hunt clubs. That said, I ask the Minister of State to explain the basis of his statement that it would not be feasible to exclude these clubs. I do not follow the logic of his position as such an exclusion would not necessarily create an additional administrative burden. While this may not be what the Minister of State meant, it is incumbent on us to support our arguments by setting out grounds for the positions we hold. I say this as someone who will support the Government’s position on this matter, notwithstanding the interesting fact that the Minister appears to have given commitments to the contrary. As the principle of the proposal is good, I will support it." from a speech on the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009, 10 February 2010.

European Elections - South Constituency

Senator Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael, South Constituency)
As a TD in 2010, Deirdre Clune voted AGAINST the Bill which banned staghunting.

Brian Crowley MEP (Fianna Fail, South Constituency)
Brian Crowley MEP gave a speech at the AGM of animal shooting organisation, NARGC. A notice on the NARGC website stated: "MEP, Brian Crowley gave an after-dinner gave an after-dinner speech that rendered him a long applause and a standing ovation at the end...I heard semi-inebriated men talk in sheer awe in the early hours of Sunday morning about Brian's ability to speak with such fluency and knowledge on the principle issues close to the hearts of all NARGC members." NARGC members are responsible for the deaths of thousands of wild creatures every year.

Simon Harris, TD (Fine Gael, South Constituency)
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris, has stated that he is looking forward to the introduction of the new animal welfare bill. Deputy Harris stated ‘I have spoken directly to Minister Coveney regarding several issues around animal welfare in County Wicklow. Minister Coveney has stressed that the new bill will provide for a clearer level of expectation of care for animals as well as trying to deal with some of the issues around how companies interacting with animals must act. ‘I am confident that the changes that will emerge when this bill is introduced will provide greater clarity around animal health and welfare. ‘The Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 is currently at Committee stage and the updating of this Bill is a significant positive improvement on the existing bill and should bring necessary changes for the improvement of the health and welfare of animals,’ concluded Deputy Harris., November 26 2012

"To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ban the docking of the tails of dogs-puppies and the removal of the dew nail, considering that both of these practices are banned by the Irish veterinarians body; if he will consider introducing such a ban in animal welfare legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter." (from a Dail Question, 3rd December 2013)

Grace O'Sullivan (Green Party, South Constituency)
"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.

Phil Prendergast MEP (Labour Party, South Constituency)
As a Senator in 2010, Phil Prendergast spoke out against banning the cruel Ward Union deer hunt. "The proper way to manage the Ward Union Hunt is through regulation," she said during a 30 June 2010 Seanad debate. "There have been some instances that have caused irritation to local dwellers, for example, stags being hit by cars and the like. I agree that is very worrying but the way to deal with these issues is through regulation, not an outright ban."

European Elections - North Constituency (Northern Ireland)

Ross Brown (Green Party, North Constituency)
"Animal welfare is something that I truly believe that we need to take seriously in our society and the infliction of cruelty towards animals remains a major injustice and is one in which we are obligated to tackle...I believe we all need to consider much more broadly how we treat animals in our society. As Jonathan Safran Foer outlines, 'cruelty is not only the wilful causing of suffering but indifference to it.' He adds, 'cruelty is dependent on having an understanding of cruelty and the ability to chose against it or chose to ignore it.' The reality as we all know it is that our society is responsible for grievous inflictions of cruelty towards animals for pleasure in blood sports, through testing of cosmetics on animals and through our enslavement of animals in circuses and sea parks..." from the Ross Brown website.

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