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"Coursing is going to continue": Minister Gormley
21 January 2011

John Gormley

Green Party leader, John Gormley, has told a hunting magazine that he doesn't like coursing but that it is "going to continue because it's not in programme for government". Despite a promise from the Greens that they would end blood sports in Government, Environment Minister Gormley has continued licensing coursing.

He made the comments in an interview published in the Winter 2010 edition of Country Sports and Country Life magazine which says it "received an invitation to an exclusive interview".

Minister Gormley is also quoted in the magazine as saying:

Asked about exemptions for hunting dogs in any future legislation relating to cruel tail docking, the Minister responds by saying that "nothing has yet been stated unequivocally on [tail docking]" but that "if that were the case for exemptions we would look at it from an animal welfare perspective...I think that if tails were to be docked it should be done by experts."

Referring to the preservation of fish species, he says: "My focus is on preserving the species rather than individual animals. I distinguish between animal welfare and animal rights."

He goes on to proclaim that he has "given out more deer hunting licences than ever before" (that's 4,000 in 2009 compared to around 3,200 in 2007) adding that "the number of deer legally shot has increased from 21,000 in 2006/7 to over 31,000 in 2008/9 season".

According to the Green Party website, the party is "against exploitation of animals". "Animal welfare is of huge concern to the Green Party Ė no other Party takes this issue seriously," it states.

Read the full interview online (pages 20,21,22)
Download the magazine and read interview


Urge Minister Gormley to stay true to the Green Party's principles and not engage in any discussions with blood sports groups. Tell him that you want a total ban on hare coursing.

Minister John Gormley
Department Of The Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

With a copy to - Green Party Head Office

Dear Minister Gormley

I read your interview in the Countrysports and Country Life magazine in which you stated that coursing will continue, even though you don't like it. It is because of the licences you have been issuing that thousands of hares have been violently netted from their habitats and forced to run for their lives on coursing fields. The suffering, injuries and deaths have continued as a result of these licences. Minister, if you don't like coursing, stop licensing it!

May I remind you of the Green Party's principle of being against the exploitation of animals. Allowing coursing to continue, facilitating the shooting of thousands of deer and suggesting that some tail docking is acceptable, is clearly contrary to this principle.

I urge you to stand true to the Green Party's animal welfare principles and work to bring to an end the abuse and killing of animals for 'sport'.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Ask Minister Gormley to stop coursers who breached conditions
11 January 2011

In conjunction with our appeal for a total withdrawal of the current coursing licence, ICABS is urging Minister Gormley to, at the very least, stop the coursing clubs which breached conditions of the licence granted to them last season.

Some months ago, we made a submission to Minister Gormley and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, identifying breaches of the licence conditions. Sadly, to our knowledge, no action has yet been taken against the related clubs and they have gone ahead with their cruel coursing meetings.

We have renewed our appeal to Minister Gormley to take urgent action against any club that is found to have previously broken conditions and, based on the fact that the conservation status of the hare is poor, to completely revoke the licence and put in place permanent protection for the Irish Hare.


Join us in our call by sending an email to Minister Gormley today - - or phoning his office on Tel: 01-888 2403. Emphasise your desire to see a total ban on coursing and permanent protection for the Irish Hare.

Please also continue lobbying your local TDs and urge them to back a ban on coursing and all blood sports.

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

The shameful licences that allow coursing to continue
2 November 2010

ICABS has obtained copies of the licences that allow coursing to continue for yet another season. The 2010-2011 licences are signed on behalf of Environment Minister, John Gormley, by a National Parks and Wildlife Service representative.

Also obtained are copies of two additional licences granted to Liscannor & Kilflynn coursing clubs which gave permission to both clubs to hold a coursing meeting on a day "not specified in the hares order" (September 25th, 2010)

In an email to the NPWS and Minister Gormley, ICABS strongly objected to the licences.

"It is the role of the NPWS to conserve the Irish Hare, a species whose conservation status remains poor," we stated. "Facilitating a cruel blood sport which causes massive interference to the species, results in injury and death, and threatens local extinctions is undoubtedly contrary to this role."

See a copy of the licences below and please support our action alert.


Make your voice heard now. Demand an end to hare coursing in Ireland. Urge Minister Gormley to reflect the wishes of the majority of the electorate and revoke the licences he issued to the Irish Coursing Club. Urge him to follow the example of Northern Ireland and mainland UK and urgently bring this barbarism to an end.

Minister John Gormley
Department Of The Environment, Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: 01 888 2403. Fax: 01 878 8640.

With a copy to - An Taoiseach, Brian Cowen
ciaran.o', - NPWS
Phone: +353 1 888 3220. Fax: +353 1 888 3272

Find out the names of your TDs and their email addresses

If you have time, please compose your own personal letter.
Otherwise, feel free to Send a copy of the sample letter

Dear Sirs

I am writing to express my great disappointment at your granting of further licences which allow coursing to continue for yet another season.

These shameful licences are giving the go-ahead to an activity that is causing stress, injury and death to hares and resulting in massive interference to this species whose conservation status is described by the National Parks and Wildlife Service as poor.

As one of the majority of Irish people opposed to this disgusting blood sport, I urge you to revoke the licences immediately and put in place permanent protection for the threatened Irish Hare species.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Coursing licences 2010-2011

Coursing Licences 2010-11

Campaign Videos: Ban Coursing in Ireland

More ICABS Videos

Slideshow: the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

Further Reading
The Facts About Hare Coursing
Stress and Capture Myopathy in Hares
Irish Hare: "conservation status is poor"
Hares and rabbits factsheet

More information about hare coursing

Coursing: Leaflet | Photos | Videos | Petition

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