Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (694)

Maureen O'Sullivan


694. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the regulated coursing matches approved by the fixtures committee at a club (details supplied) for the 2019-2020 season; and the basis on which other coursing matches can take place. [51721/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

I suspended the licences issued to the Club in question on 9 August this year to capture and tag hares for the 2019/20 hare coursing- until a clearer understanding of the extent, spread and implications of the RHD2 virus emerges.

I issued revised licences last month to allow the netting and tagging of hares but there are specific restrictions and conditions explicitly attached to the issue of those licences. The capturing of hares and coursing activity is prohibited in areas within a 25-kilometre radius of where wild rabbits or hares have tested positive for the virus. New zones will be added on an ongoing basis if further positive tests arise and, in these new zones, the capturing of hares will have to cease immediately and coursing will only be possible with already captured hares, where the hares are certified in writing by a veterinary surgeon as being healthy, and such hares will only be released on foot of such certification. This has already impacted on some coursing events.

The club referred to by the Deputy publishes its 2019/20 fixture list of coursing meetings on its website and it is my understanding that this list is amended from time to time to take account of the impact of the RHD2 virus on coursing events.