One of Ireland’s oldest hunts has suffered a major blow to their plans for a permanent home for their hounds.

An application by the 150-year-old South Union Foxhounds to build kennels for 15 couple of hounds in the town of Carrigaline was given the go-ahead by Cork County Council in December 2010.

But permission was revoked by the Irish planning appeals board on 14 May, following an objection.

“It’s very disappointing,” said South Union chairman Pat Maher. “We thought that at last we had a permanent home for the hounds, instead of having to move every 10 to 15 years in our long history. But now it’s back to the drawing board.”

The hunt could challenge the decision in the courts and will take legal advice.

But Mr Maher is concerned about the financial risk, especially if the hunt were to lose the appeal and had to pay the other party’s legal costs.

A religious order, the Brothers of Charity, which runs a residential centre for children with autism and learning difficulties near the site of the proposed kennels, objected to the planning permission. It claimed the hounds barking, plus the increased traffic, would disturb the children.

The hunt, who meet twice a week, told the appeal that the facility would be closely monitored, the hounds properly cared for and fed and that “well-fed dogs generally bed down and remain quiet”.

But the order’s response was that “the welfare of the children must take precedence over animals that are housed for the recreational enjoyment of others”.

In her report, planning board inspector Brid Maxwell said that while she accepted the hounds would not cause excessive noise, she did not regard the proposed site as appropriate or suitable.

In addition, building kennels in the area would contravene the county development plan, she claimed, recommending that permission be refused.

A spokesman for Cork County Council said it was disappointed by the decision as it had attached 22 conditions to the approval, including the spending of €10,000 on road improvements in the area.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (2 June, 2011)