Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (347, 348)

Tony Gregory

Ceist:

472 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if Roundstone beach is a protected area; if the wildlife service is investigating reports of the taking of hares from this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2746/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Roundstone beach is located within the Dog's Bay candidate special area of conservation, cSAC. That conservation status does not preclude the capture of hares under licence. The capturing of hares requires a licence under section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended, and any person catching hares other than in accordance with the conditions of a licence to capture hares is open to prosecution. Any report indicating capture of hares in breach of a licence is investigated. My Department was made aware of the alleged capture of hares from Roundstone beach and investigations into the matter were carried out. These investigations are ongoing. However at this stage the necessary evidence for a prosecution has not been forthcoming.

Tony Gregory

Ceist:

473 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if the wildlife service is investigating reports regarding the taking of hares from Valentia Island; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2747/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

My Department is responsible for the issue of an annual licence to the Irish Coursing Club, ICC, and its affiliated clubs to capture live hares, under section 34 of the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended. Only clubs which are named by the ICC in their licence application request are permitted lawfully to catch hares. Any person catching hares other than in accordance with the conditions of the licence is open to prosecution. Any report indicating capture of hares in breach of the licence would be investigated, but my Department has no indication of such a breach in relation to the capture of hares at Valentia Island.