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Gormley grants coursing AND deerhunting licences
09 October 2009

Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley has ignored appeals and issued a fresh licence to the Ward Union carted deer hunt. The disappointing move comes just weeks after the Minister greenlighted yet another season of hare coursing cruelty.

In an Irish Times article, a spokesperson for Minister Gormley claimed that “as the legislation currently stands he does not have discretion on not issuing it...He is required to issue the licence in a certain timeframe on an annual basis in order to provide them with sufficient time to prepare for the hunt season.” ICABS does not accept this - the Wildlife Act says that a licence "may" (not "must") be issued to deer hunters.

The licence also ignores the legal opinions of Trinity School of Law Professors, Clive Symmons and William Binchy, who concluded in a 2007 Irish Law Times report that the Ward Union is "illegal" under the 1911 Protection of Animals Act and that it shouldn't be licensed under the Wildlife Act.

Read the Irish Times report in full at

If you would like to express your disappointment to Minister Gormley and enquire about legislative change, you can contact him at:

Department of the Environment
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

16 September 2009

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports roundly condemns the decision made by Environment Minister John Gormley to grant yet another licence to capture hares from the wild for use as live lures for greyhounds in the cruel and primitive "sport" of hare coursing.

We are astounded that a "GREEN" Minister would issue such a licence, not only because of the inherent animal cruelty but also due to the fact that hares in the wild are in decline. Last year Minister Gormley himself issued a report on the Status of EU Protected Habitats and Species in Ireland, which rated the conservation status of the Irish hare as "POOR" with reasons gives as loss of habitat, increased urbanisation and hunting. This decline continues, as a recent survey published in Northern Ireland shows, and in response to that decline all hare hunting across the border has been suspended for the last five years, with Edwin Poots, NI Environment Minister last week extending that protection for yet another year.

It is absolutely incredible that while our Northern Ireland neighbours are taking measures to protect the hare population, our "GREEN" Minister is recklessly allowing the exploitation of our vulnerable hares by coursers and other assorted hare hunters. He should have acted in concert with our close neighbours to protect the hare as part of an All-Ireland plan, and placed a temporary ban as they have done. (See below N.I. Department of the Environment Press Release below).

By issuing this licence, Minister John Gormley has disregarded the issue of cruelty. Every coursing season, hares are injured and killed by greyhounds at coursing meetings and last year was no exception, as reports obtained by ICABS under FOI revealed. For example, at Enniscorthy - 7 hares were mauled by dogs, with six dying of their injuries; Ballyheighue, Co. Kerry - 6 hares hit and 4 killed; Gorey -11 hares hit, 7 injured and 5 put down because of injuries; Doon - 11 hares hit, 4 died from injuries, and so the catalogue of cruelty continues, year on year, as we approach 2010 in a so-called civilised country!

Northern Ireland statement re protection order for hares
10 September 2009

Department Of The Environment, Northern Ireland

Minister extends measures to protect Irish Hare

Environment Minister Edwin Poots, is proposing to renew the temporary ban on the killing, taking, sale or purchase of Irish Hares.

The proposal is to introduce a special protection order under the Game Preservation Act (NI) 1928, for the period 1 December 2009 to 11 August 2010, which includes the 'close season' for hunting hares.

Recent results from the 2009 Northern Ireland Irish hare survey have shown that there are approximately 27,400 hares in Northern Ireland .

Speaking today the Minister said: "The conservation mechanisms that my Department has put in place are bearing fruit and the number of Irish Hares is being sustained.

"However, until all data from the surveys undertaken so far can be analysed in 2010, I believe that there is a need for continued temporary protection. Therefore I am proposing that a new Special Protection Order should be made."

Notes to editors:

1. The results of the 2009 Irish Hare survey can be found at the following:

2. Section 7C(1) of the Game Preservation Act (NI) 1928, provides that, where the Minister is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to provide special protection for any kind of game, he may by order prohibit the killing or taking, or the sale or purchase, of any game prescribed by the order, during such period not exceeding one year as shall be prescribed by the order.

John Gormley Issues 2009-10 Hare Coursing Licence
15 September 2009

ICABS has learned today that Environment Minister John Gormley has ignored appeals from Ireland and around the world and issued a licence to the Irish Coursing Club for the 2009-10 season.

Minister Gormley can be contacted at:

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

Minister John Gormley - Revoke the coursing licence

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Please ask Minister John Gormley to stop licensing coursing. Email "STOP LICENSING CRUEL HARE COURSING" to

Minister John Gormley
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

(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.)

Greek Green Party appeal to Minister John Gormley
05 August 2009

The Animal Rights Group of the Green Party of Greece - Ecogreens - has made a direct appeal to the Irish Green Party leader to stop issuing licences for one of the world's worst blood sports. In a message to Minister John Gormley, Dr. Olga Kikou of the Greek Greens said: "We express our deep concern over your decision to support the cruel sport of hare coursing".

"Our opposition to this unacceptable form of entertainment reflects the opinions of our members and the Greek public at large," Dr Kikou added. "There cannot be any place for this "sport" in the 21st century."

"To our great surprise, we were recently informed of your issuing licences which give official permission for the continuation of this form of animal cruelty," Dr Kikou added. "We strongly urge you to refuse to licence coursers for the 2009-2010 season. This act will protect hares from blood thirsty individuals and will promote the protection of these animals. In addition, it will enhance the image of the Green Party of Ireland within your country and abroad."

Minister Gormley was reminded by the Ecogreen representative that "the eradication of violence throughout the world is one of the basic principles of the Green Party and we, as members, need to give our full support to the values of non-violence to human and non human animals."

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has thanked Dr. Olga Kikou and the Greek Greens for their solidarity and we have today renewed our appeal to Minister Gormley and other Irish Green Party representatives to do whatever it takes to ensure that no further licences are given to those involved in this disgusting blood sport.

Please join our appeal by responding to our action alert. Thank you.

Campaign Videos: Urge Green Party leader to stop licensing cruelty

Minister Gormley - Stop Licensing Coursing (New Action Alert Poster)
23 July 2009

Please download, display and distribute our new Action Alert Poster aimed at persuading Irish Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, to stop licensing the cruel blood sport of hare coursing.

We would be grateful if you could print this poster and display it at your local music venues, youth clubs, animal welfare stands, veterinary surgery waiting areas, etc. Thank you.

Minister Gormley - Stop Licensing Hare Coursing

Coursing is cruel from beginning to end. Thousands of hares are forcefully snatched from the Irish countryside in nets, kept in captivity for weeks and forced to run for their lives in front of muzzled greyhounds. When hit, they suffer agonising life-threatening injuries, including broken bones. Download Poster Now (pdf, 560 Kb)

Campaign Videos: Ban Coursing in Ireland

More ICABS Videos

Campaign Videos: Urge the Green party to ban blood sports

More information about hare coursing

Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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