Green Party fundraiser for animal welfare moved from Leinster House

 

A GREEN Party fundraising dinner celebrating the party’s legislative achievements in animal welfare scheduled for Monday has been moved from Leinster House to another venue.

The Greens said one reason was to avoid accusations of “gloating” at Fianna Fáil and rural campaigners.

Separately, a spokesman for the Oireachtas said holding “functions of a promotional or commercial nature” in Leinster House was “not appropriate”.

Green leader and Minister for the Environment John Gormley will address the Animal Welfare Dinner at a Dublin city centre restaurant.

Tickets cost €55 and proceeds from the event will go towards the party’s “ongoing work to end cruelty to animals”.

Senator Mark Dearey said the venue had been changed for a combination of reasons. “Any money we might raise out of the event, we need to do so in a way that’s not seen to be using Leinster House for it. And people might perceive it as an invitation to protest. We’d rather just do it in a low-key way. It was a bitter debate, it’s time to be healing divisions, not exaggerating them,” Mr Dearey said.

A Green source said the party wanted to avoid any perception that the party was “gloating” at its coalition partners and at rural campaigners. At the dinner, Mr Gormley will refer to the Government’s next piece of animal welfare legislation, the Animal Health and Welfare Bill, the heads of which are described as being at an advanced stage in the Department of Agriculture and expected to be submitted to Government soon.

Despite the change of venue, diners are assured the new meal on offer will be as close as possible to the original four-course fish and vegetarian menu.

It featured Cashel blue gateaux with pickled pears or lentil and bean soup for starters, and a main course of gallette of wild mushroom or baked salmon with cucumber and mint.

The scale of Fianna Fáil backbench revolt against the Green-sponsored animal welfare legislation in the last Dáil session shocked Ministers.

Tipperary South TD Mattie McGrath lost the Fianna Fáil whip for voting against the law to ban stag hunting and he also voted against the Coalition on the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill.

A spokesman for the Oireachtas said facilities in Leinster House could not be used for fundraising purposes. “Use of the facilities is to be conducted in a manner reflective of the dignity and decorum of the Houses,” he said.

Asked if a complaint had been received about this event, he said he could not comment on individual events.