Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
301. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht his views on whether the granting of licences to trap hares for the purposes of coursing runs contrary to the spirit if not the letter of the Wildlife Acts 1976 to 2000, particularly as hares under section 23 are a protected species. [28806/11]
303. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Arts; Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of licences granted for coursing of hares in County Galway in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28810/11]
The Wildlife Acts 1976-2010 clearly and specifically allow for hare coursing in Ireland. Licences are granted in accordance with sections 32 and 34 of the Acts allowing for the tagging and capture by netting of hares respectively. These licences are granted to the Irish Coursing Club, the statutory body established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 for administering Irish hare coursing, and its affiliated clubs to hold regulated coursing matches. Two such licenses were issued to the Irish Coursing Club for the current season 2011/12. These licenses cover affiliated coursing clubs in County Galway.
There is no current evidence that coursing has a significant effect on hare populations and the decision to issue these licences took into consideration the report of the Status of Hares in Ireland — Hare Survey of Ireland 2006/07. The survey showed that the Irish hare is widespread, occurring throughout the entire country. My Department also includes an assessment of the various coursing meetings held during the previous season when making a recommendation to me on the issue of licences each year. It should be noted that hares (in addition to other game species such as game birds and deer) are afforded protection by the restriction of hunting, (including hare coursing), to specified periods of the year as set out in the Open Seasons Orders.
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