Stag hunt fixture list issued despite ban

 

THE WARD Union Hunt has issued a list of hunt fixtures for the coming season despite the recently introduced ban on hunting stags.

Animal rights activists have forwarded details of the events to gardaí asking them to prosecute any breaches of the new law.

Confirming that the list had been sent out, Ronan Griffin, the hunt’s spokesman, said a legal team was looking at the legislation and it would take advantage of any loophole it could find to ensure the survival of Ireland’s only stag hunt, which was set up in 1884.

“What I can say if we are doing anything we will only act within the law as we have always done.

“We have no intention to break the law but we want the hunt to continue,” he said.

Bernie Wright of the Association of Hunt Saboteurs Ireland, claimed she had learned from sources in the hunt that it was planning to hunt stags again and she was seeking a Garda investigation.

“My people tell me they have a plan to fit stags with electronic tracking collars so they can lay down a drag [artificial scent] trail to where the pack would “accidentally” come across a stag and hunt it,” she said.

Ms Wright claimed the hunt was also looking at a possible loophole in the legislation which could allow the hunt to follow one single hound rather than a pack which was specified in the legislation.

Mr Griffin said the fixture list had been sent out to put farmers and members on notice of the hunting season and meetings as it had been doing since the hunt was set up.

He added that the hunt had no plans to arrange drag hunting of stags.

Asked if the hunt planned to or had put electronic tracking equipment on stag, he repeated that anything the hunt would do would be within the law.

Asked about hunting the stag with a single dog rather than a pack, he again repeated anything the hunt would do, “if anything, would be within the law”.

If the hunt is found to be in breach of the law it could face fines from € 500 to € 1,000 for a first offence, from € 1,000 to €2,000 for a second offence, and from € 1,500 to €5,000 for a third or subsequent offence.

The maximum fine for conviction on indictment was increased to € 100,000 in the controversial legislation driven by the Green Party and passed by one vote in the Dáil last June.

The hunt fixture list shows hunts listed for Clogherstown Cross, Garristown and the Naul, in Co Dublin running right up to a pre-Christmas meeting at Cabragh Lodge on December 22nd.

It will also hold an open day on October 23rd between 2-5 pm at the hunt kennels at Greenpark for farmers, families and friends of the hunt.