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Minister Coveney: I am aware a large body of people want coursing banned
13 June 2014

The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney has acknowledged the huge opposition to Ireland's cruel hare coursing. Responding to questions from ICABS President, Maureen O'Sullivan TD, Minister Coveney stated: "I am aware that a large body of people, including the Deputy, would like to see coursing banned."

Deputy O'Sullivan was highlighting the fact that "90 per cent of the Irish Coursing Club's funding is provided by dog registration fees". Her proposal to transfer the function of greyhound registration from the ICC to the Irish Greyhound Board was, however, rejected by the Minister.

Maureen went on to describe the suffering being caused to hares netted from the wild and used as lures for coursing greyhounds.

"The National Parks and Wildlife Service has detailed the extent of the injuries suffered by the hares through mauling and tossing and pinning to the ground," she told Minister Coveney. "In my view, it is incongruous and it does not make sense, that people who own greyhounds, regardless of their views on coursing, must pay that registration fee to the coursing club."

"Coursing is illegal in many other jurisdictions, including Northern Ireland and Britain, Australia and New Zealand and most of continental Europe, yet coursing with live hares is carried on in this country, in spite of the fact that so many polls show that much of public opinion is against it," she continued. "Why should a greyhound owner who is against coursing have to pay fees to the Irish Coursing Club to register and name a greyhound? It is known that Bord na gCon has financial difficulties and that the track industry is in trouble. I hope the [Indecon report on Bord na gCon] will make a recommendation and, if so, that the Minister will consider it favourably."

Responding to this, Minister Coveney said that if the report makes recommendations, he has "an open mind about implementation and change". "So far as I am concerned, there is nothing untouchable here," he added.

Referring to possible recommendations in the report in relation to hare coursing, the Minister said: "I am aware that a large body of people, including the Deputy, would like to see coursing banned. We had that discussion in the context of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill and we decided to take a different route. If the review makes recommendations for future adjustments and changes in that area, we will consider it."

Asked by Maureen "why can the mechanical hare, which is used in track racing, not be used in coursing so that live hares are not used and injured?", Minister Coveney replied: " I acknowledge the Deputy's genuine concerns and views in this area."

Read the full exchange at


Express your support for a ban on coursing. Sign a petition:

Minister Coveney: Save Irish hares from cruel coursing
Ban horrific Hare Coursing Cruelty in Ireland
Stop sponsoring hare coursing in Ireland
Protect the Irish Hare

Appeal to the Minister for Agriculture

Please appeal to the Minister for Agriculture to remove an exemption for hare coursing from the Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Simon Coveney, TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-607 2884 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: 01-661 1013.

Urgently contact An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and An Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Ask them to ban hare coursing and give permanent protection to hares.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion Street,
Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Fax: 01-6764048

An Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore
Office of the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade,
Iveagh House,
80 St. Stephen’s Green,
Dublin 2.
Tel: 01 6183566 (Dail)
Tel: 01 408 2000 (Iveagh House)
Fax: 01 408 2400


Contact Minister Deenihan now and urge him to stop licensing hare coursing.

Jimmy Deenihan, TD
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
23 Kildare Street
Dublin 2

[with a copy to An Taoiseach - and the NPWS Licensing Unit]
Tel: (01) 631 3804
Fax: (01) 661 1201

Constituency Details
18A The Square, Listowel, Co Kerry
Telephone: 068-57446
Fax: 068-57805

(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.)

Dear Minister Deenihan,

I am one of the majority who want hare coursing outlawed. I am writing to urge you to stop licensing hare coursing.

In coursing, hares suffer and die at all stages - during the capture, during the time they are kept in captivity and during the coursing meetings where they run for their lives in front of greyhounds. Among the injuries recorded are broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips.

I ask you to please act on the wishes of the majority, show compassion and stop licensing this deplorable cruelty.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Contact all your local TDs now. Demand that they urgently push for a ban on hare coursing and all bloodsports. Tell them you are one of the majority who want coursing banned. Remind them that coursing is already illegal in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. Urge them to respect the wishes of the majority of the electorate and back a ban.

Find out their contact details
Please also arrange a meeting with your TDs at their local clinics.

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