Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question No. 175
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if there is evidence of trafficking of hares from the 26 counties to the six counties following the refusal of the Northern authorities to grant a licence to net hares to the Dungannon Coursing Club; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 23rd October, 2003.
Ref No: 24644/03
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Cullen):
Under Section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976 my Department is responsible for the issue of an annual licence to the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) and its affiliated clubs to capture live hares. Only clubs which are named by the ICC in their licence application request, are permitted to legally catch hares. No clubs in Northern Ireland are included in the current licence.
Any person catching hares other than in accordance with a licence is open to prosecution under Section 23 of the Act. I can confirm that such prosecutions are currently taking place but it would not be appropriate for me to comment further while the cases are before the courts.