Dog control: Tougher fines for owners and 40 more wardens under proposed law

Minister for Agriculture to bring memo to Cabinet with fresh recommendations for control of dogs

People who fail to control their dogs would face tougher fines under plans due to go before Cabinet on Tuesday.

A further 40 dog wardens would also be appointed across the State under proposals from Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, who was late last year tasked by then taoiseach Micheál Martin with carrying out a review of the relevant legislation after a young boy was badly injured by a dog in Co Wexford.

The Minister is to outline the progress of an interdepartmental working group established by him and Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys, which has been examining issues such as fines for dog owners found to be in breach of the Control of Dogs Act, enforcement of relevant laws at a local level, microchipping, licences, breeding establishments and the sale of dogs.

The group’s interim report includes 15 recommendations. Among them are the recruitment of more dog wardens, increasing the fine under the Control of Dogs Act from €2,500 to €5,000, and improving dog traceability and welfare through the creation of a single database for dog microchips.


Regulations around the breeding, sale and supply of dogs will also be strengthened by creating a centralised national database of dog breeding establishments. The working group is due to complete its final report by summer.

Alejandro Miszan (9) was left with life-changing injuries after he was attacked by a pit bull terrier – also known as an “XL Bully” breed – last November while playing near his home in Enniscorthy. Two children – Mia O’Connell (four months) and Glen Murphy (7) – died after being attacked by dogs in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

The Dáil was told last December there has been a significant rise in the number of dog attacks on people, with Fine Gael’s Alan Dillon saying more than 1,700 incidents were recorded between 2016 and 2021.

Separately, the Cabinet will be told that Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe is to chair the delivery board of the national planning framework, Project Ireland 2040, as part of the expanded mandate of his portfolio.

When he switched positions with Minister for Finance Michael McGrath in December, Mr Donohoe took on responsibility for delivering the National Development Plan (NDP).

Mr Donohoe will seek approval from Cabinet at its weekly meeting on Tuesday for a number of priority actions to be taken this year, including an increase to the threshold for major infrastructure projects that are subject to the public spending code. The upper limit will double to €200 million in an attempt to allow faster progression of these projects.

Mr McGrath will be taking a separate memo to Cabinet seeking approval to make a bid to host the new EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority (AMLA) in Ireland. The authority is to be launched next year and will oversee compliance with anti-money laundering and rules seeking to halt the financing of terrorism. There are nine prospective candidates and it is expected that a final decision on where to locate the authority will be made later this year.

Meanwhile, Minister for Arts Catherine Martin is to bring a five-year Creative Youth Plan to Cabinet, which she hopes will support programmes for “potentially tens of thousands of young people nationwide”. It will prioritise children seen as being at risk of disadvantage. The previous five-year plan supported more than 2,000 schools and youth centres.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times