Proposed ban on hunting criticised


OIREACHTAS ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE:FIANNA FÁIL TDs, including former ceann comhairle John O’Donoghue, criticised elements of the proposed legislation to ban stag hunting with packs of dogs at the Oireachtas environment committee meeting.

A delegation from the Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) claimed senior Coillte and National Parks and Wildlife Service personnel shared their concerns about the implications of a subsection of the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010.

The Fianna Fáil TDs and WDAI referred to section 3, subsection 2 of the Bill, which states: “Subject to subsection (3), a person, including the holder of a licence or permission granted under this Act, who hunts deer with two or more dogs, shall be guilty of an offence.”

Section 3, subsection 3 states: “It shall not be an offence for a person to hunt deer with two or more dogs, pursuant to a permission granted under section 42 of this Act, where it is a term of such permission that dogs may be used to hunt deer.”

Department of the Environment officials met representatives of deerstalking associations last week and told them the proposed legislation was not intended to restrict traditional deerstalking and would be amended to ensure clarity.

At yesterday’s meeting, Mr O’Donoghue called on Minister for the Environment John Gormley to remove the first subsection.

“The great Walter Scott would never have written The Lady of the Lake if this legislation had been in place and English literature would have been deprived of the stag at eve drinking its fill,” he said.

Tipperary North TD Maire Hoctor said: “It baffles me as to why this particular section was put into the legislation.”