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Hare Coursing

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 9 September 2021

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Questions (323)

Paul Murphy

Question:

323. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will provide all of the findings returned following the research carried out by the National Parks and Wildlife Service into the survival and behaviour of hares released back into the wild after they have been used for coursing; the survival and movement patterns of hares that have been returned to the wild after coursing; and the results in relation to releasing hares in the territory in which they were captured when compared to random locations. [41938/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Irish hare [Lepus timidus hibernicus] is protected under the Wildlife Acts [1976 and 2000] and is also listed on Annex V of the E.U. Habitats Directive [92/43/EEC].  The species is considered to be in favourable conservation status.

Hare coursing in Ireland is administered by the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) which is a body set up under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958.  Statutory responsibility for the Act resides with the Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Licences are required by the ICC under the terms of the Wildlife Acts to facilitate the capture of hares and the tagging of hares for closed park meetings.  Hares are netted in advance of coursing meetings and then kept in dedicated hare parks for a period of several weeks. After coursing they are released again in to the wild.

The study commissioned by the NPWS of my Department in 2020 to research the movement and survivorship of hares after coursing was delayed due to Covid-19. Research will commence in the coming months and results will be published on completion, towards the end of 2022.

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