The Minister is correct that we have discussed this matter before. The RHD2 virus was not considered enough of a threat to ban live hare coursing, although it should have been, as should the well documented injuries to hares that occur before and during coursing.
The practice is banned in almost every advanced country in the world, with only three allowing it. All of that should have been enough to ensure a ban on live hare coursing, yet it continues to be permitted.
My question relates to the finding in a recent RED C poll that 77% of Irish citizens want to see an end to live hare coursing, with only 9% supporting its continuation. In addition, there has been extensive correspondence to the Minister's office, which was released via a freedom of information request, indicating overwhelming support for a ban on live hare coursing. Coursing involves the blooding of the greyhound. Otherwise, why would such a gentle animal chase a hare with such ferocity? There have been convictions for illegal hunting of hares, including two in Offaly some months ago, and we know what happened on Whiddy Island. It is time to stand up to the 9% minority on this matter. If no licences are issued by the Minister, then there can be no live hare coursing.