Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Questions (224, 225, 226, 227, 228)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

224. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the definition of regulated coursing matches requires clubs to comply with rules 11 and 13 of a club (details supplied) regarding the open seasons order for which she has sole responsibility. [45631/19]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

225. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the definition of regulated coursing matches requires clubs to comply with directive 11 of a club (details supplied) regarding the open seasons order for which she has sole responsibility. [45632/19]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

226. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the definition of regulated coursing matches requires greyhounds to be wearing the proper collars in line with rule 109 of a club (details supplied) regarding the open seasons order for which she has sole responsibility. [45633/19]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

227. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the reason 19 affiliated clubs of a club (details supplied) referred to in a recent meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine were not listed in the licence schedule for the 2018-19 season in relation to conditions of the hare netting licence; and the measures in place to monitor their activity. [45634/19]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

228. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her views on the interpretation and extent of the open seasons order set out in paragraphs 6.0 to 6.3 of a submission to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine in respect of the open seasons order for which she has sole responsibility; and if this was the case prior to the date of the submission. [45635/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 to 228, inclusive, together.

The legislative base for both parkland and open hare coursing is the Wildlife (Wild Mammals) (Open Seasons) Order 2005 which allows the hunting of hares, including coursing with dogs for “coursing at regulated coursing matches”. The Wildlife Acts defines a regulated coursing match as follows:

"regulated coursing match means a coursing match held in accordance with the rules for such matches which are for the time being both published and approved by the Irish Coursing Club pursuant to the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958.”

The majority of coursing meetings organised by the Irish Coursing Club relate to regular park coursing where hares are captured under licence, are kept in a hare park, are released to course over a designated track and then re-released back into the wild. It is my understanding that in open coursing hares are not captured but are already present in the countryside. Clearly, a licence to capture hares is not required for Open coursing events where hares are not captured and as such there is no requirement for all such events to be listed on the schedule to the licence issued to the Irish Coursing Club.

In its opening statement delivered to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on 9 July 2019, the ICC made a distinction between Affiliated Clubs and Associated Clubs. My Department was not aware of the distinction. It is a matter for ICC to clarify the legal status of such Associated Clubs and my Department is pursuing this matter with the ICC.