Parliamentary Questions and Answers
Question 253 - Answered on 09 February, 1999
Tony Gregory: To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the reason she rejected the recommendations of the Heritage Council not to grant a licence to the Ward Union Hunt while the status of the deer was being clarified.
Ref No: 3167/99
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands (Miss Sile de Valera): In accordance with the views of the Heritage Council, I have sought clarification from the Attorney General as to the legal status of the deer hunted by the Ward Union Hunt, whether they are wild or domesticated, and whether or not they constitute private property. I felt that it was reasonable, pending receipt of the views of the Attorney General, to continue with the existing situation in relation to the licensing of the Ward Union Hunt. In coming to this view, in the context of my primary responsibility in relation to conservation, I had regard to the absence of evidence that the activities of the Ward Union Hunt have an adverse effect on the conservation of deer or wild life. I decided, therefore, that a licence should be issued in the normal way to the Ward Union Hunt for one further year.
This licence specifies that: (a) deer may be hunted from 15 October 1998 to 31 March 1999; (b) the club shall supply details of the number and sex of all deer released and not recaptured together with an indication of where such deer were last sighted, this information to be supplied as soon as possible after 31 March 1999; and (c) I, as Minister, may appoint a person or persons to undertake the monitoring of the Ward Union Hunt Club and that the licensee will co-operate with such person or persons and will indemnify, and keep indemnified, me, as Minister, and the Minister for Agriculture and Food in relation to such monitoring.