ICC brings High Court challenge against government decision to exclude coursing in Level 5

The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) has brought a High Court challenge against the government decision to exclude coursing from being permitted under Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.

The ICC was before the High Court yesterday (Monday, January 4) seeking leave to progress a judicial review of Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly’s decision to exclude the activity from the revised statutory instrument. This case will return before the court at the end of the week.

On December 1, hare coursing was included in S.I. 560/2020 of the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations 2020.

This legislation is now amended, resulting in coursing not being permitted under the Level 5 status of the country.

On December 24, the ICC claims it sought an explanation from two government departments but that no response had been received.

In a statement on the matter, the ICC said:

“The judge has granted leave to the ICC for a judicial review and the matter is returnable this Friday for the hearing of an injunction to permit the remainder of the coursing season to take place.

“The club [wishes] to establish the reason as to why coursing was removed from the statutory instrument when comparable sports were retained, while all bodies operated under strict Covid-19 protocols, as did coursing.”

Cahill requests that coursing industry be provided with financial support

Meanwhile, Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill has called for track bookmakers and members of the coursing community that have been adversely affected by Covid-19 to be provided with financial supports.

He has written to Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath, to request that those who experience significant financial losses as a result of the Level 5 lockdown be granted access to the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP).

“Both of these industries are relied on by people in rural Ireland and Tipperary, in particular, for a livelihood and have faced major restrictions this year as a direct result of Covid-19,” the TD said.

“Covid-19 has essentially prevented the 2020/2021 coursing season from going ahead. There are many people in Tipperary who rely on the short coursing season for a livelihood and they will this year have to go without this.”