Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 205 - Answered on 23rd March, 2006

Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason he granted an extension of licences to cover March 2006 to beagling clubs; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Ref No: 11416/06. Written reply.

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Roche): Section 26(2) of the Wildlife Act, 1976 (as amended) allows the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to grant to the master or other person having charge for the time being of a pack of beagles or harriers a licence to hunt hares in any district or districts specified in the licence with that pack on such day or days (being a day or days which are not specified in the hares order providing for the open season) as are both specified in the licence and are in the year in which the licence is granted.

Following consideration of applications from the Irish Masters of Beagles Association and Cork Southern Hunt Club, it was decided to issue these organisations with a licence for the period from 1 March 2006 to 31 March 2006. Licences have been given for this period annually for the past number of years. As a condition of the licences a return giving the dates and number of hares hunted and killed on each of the days specified shall be made to the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department.

Previous year's returns have shown that beagling results in extremely low hare mortality giving no strong conservation reasons to oppose the issue of these licenses:

20053 hares killed
20042 hares killed
20033 hares killed
20022 hares killed
20013 hares killed
20003 hares killed

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