Social Democrats spokesperson for Climate Action and Biodiversity, Jennifer Whitmore TD, has asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to ensure that all hares netted for coursing purposes in December will be released back into the wild.

In response to a parliamentary question from Deputy Whitmore, Minister Darragh O’Brien said it was his understanding that all hares captured by clubs affiliated to the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) had been released in November 2020. This followed a request to the ICC to do so.

However, the minister noted that some hares that were netted in late December may still remain in captivity and said the National Parks and Wildlife Service was monitoring the situation.

Deputy Whitmore stated:

“It is curious that hares were apparently netted in late December after a Christmas spike in Covid-19 numbers and maximum Level 5 restrictions were brought in. I welcome the fact that the National Parks and Wildlife Service is monitoring the situation but I will be following this up with the minister to ensure that all hares remaining in captivity are released while restrictions are still in place.

“The Irish Coursing Club was unsuccessful this week in its bid to secure a High Court injunction to allow coursing to resume during the current Covid-19 restrictions. This further undermines any argument by those involved in coursing for keeping our wild hares in captivity.”

January 28, 2021

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