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.”