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Stay off public roads: National Safety Council's message to Ward Union Deerhunt

28th March, 2003

Road Safety Council's message to Deerhunt

The National Safety Council has requested that the Ward Union Deerhunt stay off public roads in the interests of road safety.

The move came following an Irish Council Against Blood Sports presentation which highlighted the danger posed to motorists by hunts.

Part of our presentation included a report from a Duchas Conservation Ranger who monitored the Ward Union hunt on March 5th, 2002.

This ranger outlined that “the stag took off in the direction of Dunshaughlin where it crossed the main N3”.

Responding to our concerns, Pat Costello of the National Safety Council stated that the Ward Union would be contacted and asked to keep off the roads.

“The National Safety Council is responsible for the promotion of road safety in Ireland…we would have obvious concerns if such practices posed a danger to road users,” he said.

“We will therefore be taking two steps. Firstly we will be writing to the Ward Union Hunt to communicate these concerns and that in the interests of road safety we would request that all appropriate precautions be taken to prevent incursions (by deer/stag, dogs and the hunt party) onto the public highway during hunting outings.”

“Secondly we will also be passing on your correspondence to the local road safety officer for County Meath for his consideration.”

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has also brought our concerns about the dangers posed by hunting groups to the attention of the Minister for Transport, Seamus Brennan.

Minister Brennan’s office has advised us in a letter that “the Department of Transport has no role in local traffic management matters of this nature”. However, they have forwarded our letter to the County Manager of Meath County Council.

The hazards posed by the Ward Union Deerhunt were previously highlighted during the 1997-98 season. A Department of Agriculture official monitoring the hunt referred to the hazards associated with hunts on roads. In his report, he stated that the “deer were at risk of injury when crossing roads.”

Photos: Ward Union on the roads

To view images of the Ward Union Deerhunt on the roads, please visit the Gallery

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