Irish parliament votes to ban stag hunting and the Ward Union

  • As of 7pm last night (29 June) Ireland’s only stag hunt — the Ward Union — ceased to have a purpose.

    Politicians voted to ban stag hunting in the Republic by the narrow margin of 75 votes to 72.

    Spokesman for the Hunting Association of Ireland James Phelan told H&H: “It was so close — we had no idea until half an hour before which way the vote was going to go. It is such a shame for the Wards and a terrible blow for Irish hunting.”

    Despite hopes that Fianna Fáil TDs would defy their party to vote against the controversial Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010, only one party member — Tipperary’s Mattie McGrath — voted against the bill.

    He has since been expelled from the parliamentary party.

    The Irish environment minister, John Gormley of the Green Party, made a last minute amendment to the bill, to preclude deer stalking from the legislation.

    The Dáil will vote on a second bill which will affect hunts next week — the legislation to ban puppy farming.

    Mr Phelan said the Dog Breeding Bill will mean all hunts having to microchip their hounds and give local authorities the right to spot-check kennels.

    “There will be no standardisation so it could be very easy for a council with an anti-hunting agenda to make draconian requests of a hunt in a bid to put them out of business,” he said.

    “But I think the anger surrounding last night’s vote may spur TDs on to vote against it.”

  • See H&H edition 8 July for more on this story
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