Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 190 - Answered on 27th September, 2007

Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his intentions in relation to the re-issuing of hunt licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Ref No: 21259/07. Written reply.

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Gormley): Applications for hunting licences under the Wildlife Act, 1976, are processed by my Department. Each licence application is dealt with individually and any conservation impact on the particular species is taken into account in line with the provisions of the Act.

The hunting control measures currently in place are sufficient to ensure the conservation of protected species; however I will implement any additional measures as and when required.

My Department recently issued a licence to the Irish Coursing Club allowing most of its affiliated clubs to net hares for the purpose of hare coursing.

One Club (Westmeath United Coursing Club) has been excluded from the netting licence for the 2007/2008 season following a successful prosecution for the illegal netting of hares in 2006. It was also decided to curtail the number of courses allowed by Cappoquin and Dungarvan coursing clubs.

There is no current evidence that coursing has a significant effect on hare populations and my decision to issue this licence took into consideration the final report of the Status of Hares in Ireland Hare Survey of Ireland 2006/07.

My Department is currently in discussions with representatives of the Ward Union Stag Hunt concerning their application for a hunting licence for the coming season. I have raised a number of issues of serious concern with the Ward Union Hunt including in relation to conservation and protection of stags generally and compliance with previous licence conditions. When the discussions with my Department are concluded I will be making my decision on the licence application.

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