IRELAND’S Ward Union stag hunt has been given a reprieve by Irish environment minister John Gormley.

The Countryside Alliance Ireland had feared Mr Gormley would refuse the pack a licence to hunt carted stag for the next season.

But today the minister said he would give the hunt time to address “serious concerns” before making a decision.

“I have a number of serious concerns in this regard and I am writing to the Ward hunt to afford it an opportunity of addressing those concerns before making a final decision on the matter,” said Mr Gormley.

He said he would not comment further on the issue until he has received and considered all relevant information.”

Lyall Plant of the Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI) said: “This proves that all our lobbying has done some good. We texted 15,000 members on Wednesday asking them to phone or email and we understand the switchboard was jammed all day.”

The Ward Union needs its new licence to commence hunting on October 1.