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Meath East by-election and Blood Sports
13 March 2013

Find out where candidates in the upcoming Meath East by-election stand on the issue of blood sports. Read our guide before you vote on March 27th and please always support compassionate candidates.

Seamus McDonagh (Workers' Party)
"I am totally and utterly opposed to all blood sports"

Seamus McDonagh is chairman of the North Meath Campaign Against Household Water and Septic Tank Charges

Sean O Buachalla (Green Party)
"I support this ban [on carted deer hunting] and condemn reported attempts to flout the law on this issue...I welcome [the government's] tacit admission that this ban is here to stay." Sean O Buachalla

Green Party Position: In government, the Green Party succeeded in securing a ban on the Meath-based Ward Union carted deer hunt - a ban supported by a majority of people in Meath. The Green Party's 2011 election manifesto outlined that the party would "introduce legislation to ban hare coursing" and "make the hunting of animals with hounds an offence under law" if they form part of the next government. "Animal welfare is of great concern to the Green Party and we will continue to build on our significant work to date as part of the next government," it states. In a section focusing on Animal Welfare, the manifesto also outlined that the Green Party would seek to prohibit the trade in animal fur products and end the use of exotic animals in circuses.

Thomas Byrne (Fianna Fail)
"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." Speaking as a Senator during the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2012, 4th July 2012. Watch on Youtube

Fianna Fail Position: There is no mention of animal welfare in the party's manifesto. The party reluctantly supported a ban on carted deer hunting but dismissed calls for foxhunting and hare coursing to be banned. Party leader, Micheal Martin, TD is on record as saying that he does not think foxhunting should be banned in Ireland.

Helen McEntee (Fine Gael)
Helen McEntee is the daughter of the late Shane McEntee TD whose death led to the by-election being called. She worked with Shane McEntee in Dail Eireann and at the Department of Agriculture.

Shane McEntee was a pro-bloodsports TD and lobbied to try and get the ban on stag hunting reversed. He also spoke in favour of hare coursing, claiming there was no danger to the hare. Helen McEntee's personal views on blood sports are unknown at this time.

Fine Gael position: The party is pro-bloodsports. Fine Gael Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has to-date dismissed calls for hare coursing, foxhunting, terrierwork and digging out to be banned.

Eoin Holmes (Labour Party)
Eoin Holmes is a Meath County Councillor.

On 10th May 2010, Eoin Holmes was at a meeting of Meath County Council at which there was "overwhelming support" for a pro-hunting motion which was passed following a show of hands. It is unclear whether Cllr Holmes voted for, or against, this motion.

Labour Party position: The party voted against the ban on carted deer hunting but afterwards, when the ban was in place, said they would accept it and would not support a reversal of the ban. Labour Party leader, Eamon Gilmore, is on record as saying "I am opposed to the blood sports of badger baiting, cock fighting, dog fighting, hare coursing and stag hunting."

Darren O'Rourke (Sinn Fein)
Darren O'Rourke works at the Oireachtas for Sinn Fein's health spokesman Caoimhghin O Caolain.

Sinn Fein position: At Sinn Fein's 2010 Ard Fheis, a motion was passed which stated: "this Ard Fheis acknowledges the support in rural Ireland for traditional rural occupations including hunting, fishing, and hare coursing, acknowledges the...potential economic damage posed by an outright ban, believes that hunting and fishing should continue to be regulated in the interests of sustainable wildlife management...we oppose an outright ban [on coursing]."

Ben Gilroy (Direct Democracy Ireland)
Ben Gilroy is the leader of the recently formed Direct Democracy Ireland party.

Charlie Keddy (Non Party)
A self employed plumber from Kilcoole in Co Wicklow. He has contested the last four general elections in Wicklow.

Jim Tallon (Non Party)
A farmer who contested the 2011 election in Wicklow.

Mick Martin (Non Party)
A financial services advisor

Gerard O'Brien (Non Party)
A psychiatric nurse from Navan.

Before you vote on March 27th, please consider the views of each of the candidates and make the decision to choose compassion now and for the future. If a candidate's stance is not outlined here, please make a special effort to contact the candidate directly or question them when they come to your door. Please let us know about responses you receive.

Pro-hunt election candidate voted to ban hunt

Pro-hunt Meath East by-election candidate, Thomas Byrne, supported a 2010 ban on deer hunting in his constituency and later expressed "shock" that the following government wasn't reversing the same ban.

Senator Byrne probably won't want the electorate to recall a speech he made in July 2012 which may alienate both hunters and those who want an end to cruel hunting.

In a video of his speech, he can be seen saying he wants a reversal of the deer hunt ban (not likely to go down well with the majority in Meath who support the ban) and also mentioning that he and his party supported the ban and that it "rightly" lost them votes.

The cruel "sport" Senator Byrne wants back

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