Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 246 - Answered on 18th February, 2004
To ask the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the purpose of and the outcome of the meeting in October 2003 between the Monitoring Committee and the Irish Coursing Club; if he plans any legislative or policy initiative in light of the need to introduce drag coursing here in view of the success of this alternative to live hare coursing in Australia, the USA and Britain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Tony Gregory).
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 18th February, 2004.
Ref No: 5362/04
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism (John O'Donoghue, T.D.): The Deputy will be aware that under Section 26 of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, the Irish Coursing Club is recognised as being the controlling authority for the breeding and coursing of greyhounds, subject to the provisions of the Act and of the constitution of the Club and subject to the general control and direction of Bord na gCon.
The Monitoring Committee, comprising officials of my own Department, veterinary and livestock-breeding experts from the Department of Agriculture, representatives from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Bord na gCon held its annual meeting with the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) on October 23, 2003.
The purpose of this meeting was to review the 2002/2003 coursing season and to discuss control procedures for the 2003/2004 season.
The question of introducing drag coursing was discussed at the meeting. The ICC informed the Committee that the muzzling of coursing greyhounds and the continued veterinary inspections by both the coursing clubs and the Department of Agriculture and Food have significantly reduced the incidence of injuries to hares. The Department of Agriculture veterinary inspectors agreed to attend approximately 10% of meetings for the 2003/2004 on behalf of my Department, while Wildlife Rangers from the National Parks and Wildlife Services will continue to attend approximately 50% of all coursing meetings and issue reports to my Department.
In light of these initiatives, I do not propose to introduce changes in legislation to introduce drag coursing in Ireland.