Healy-Rae: Bill to ban hare coursing ‘nothing more than a publicity-seeking stunt’

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae has said he will not only oppose RISE TD Paul Murphy’s new bill that seeks to ban hare coursing in Ireland, but also “all the propaganda and false truths that usually go with the debate”.

This week, deputy Murphy introduced his proposals for the Animal Health and Welfare (Ban on Hare Coursing) Bill 2020; to amend the Wildlife Act 1976 and the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013; along with making consequential and other amendments to the Greyhound Industry Act 1958 and other acts relating to such coursing.

If passed, the bill would see anyone who takes part in coursing fined €1,000, while they would also face up to six months in prison.

Speaking about the bill, deputy Healy-Rae said he is content that coursing currently “operates in a highly regulated environment; coupled with comprehensive rules directly applied by the Irish Coursing Club (ICC)”.

He said not only will he oppose the bill itself, but also all the “propaganda and false truths that usually go with the debate, so to blind people of the facts and to play on their emotions”.

The sport of coursing operates under a licence from the Minister for Heritage, issued annually with a total of over 20 conditions attached which is overseen by the ICC, which is held to task by the many clubs around the country.

He added that the bill was “nothing more than a publicity-seeking stunt that sees RISE wanting to point score on the current green minister who supported [it] such a number of years ago”.

“I would hope that this bill is defeated and I am calling on all other rural TDs from around Ireland to come out now and make their support public for the sport of hare coursing; as many have been found guilty in the past of showing up on the day after independent TDs like myself do all the battling.”