Dogs Bill is first out of the traps for Michael D


WASN’T IT a lovely day yesterday? (Rain notwithstanding.) One of the first things Michael D has to do as President is choose the members of his Council of State.

There is a rumour emanating from sources in his former party that his former leader Eamon Gilmore got in touch during the week with some names which President Higgins might consider. However, it’s been said that Michael D returned Eamon’s list with an instruction that went along the lines of: “I’m the President now, so I’d be grateful if you didn’t start sticking your oar in.” But in far more diplomatic language, obviously.

Meanwhile, it looks like the first Bill to be signed into law by the new President will be the Welfare of Greyhounds Bill, which passed its final stages in the Seanad during the week.

Dog lover Michael D will, doubtless, sign with alacrity. The Bill, which had cross-party support, puts in place a framework – with appropriate legal sanctions – to ensure the best levels of welfare for greyhounds.

The way is now clear for Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to sign the order bringing into effect the Dog Breeding Act, which applies to other types of dogs and is intended to outlaw puppy farming. Minister of State Shane McEntee piloted both pieces of legislation through the Dáil and Seanad. Congrats to Shane, but given what Enda Kenny had to say during the week, he won’t be getting far with his devout wish to have the ban on stag hunting overturned.

Meath deputy McEntee is a strong supporter of the Ward Union Hunt and the recent Rise campaign against the ban. His adviser is Liam Cahill, the former RTÉ man who was the spokesman for Rise.

Apropos of which, Mr McEntee is being driven around in a Saab adorned with a large Rise sticker.

“What next” harrumphed a disapproving Labour deputy when he saw it, “Michael Noonan with an ‘I heart ECB’ sign in the back window of his Merc?”