Badger cull employee convicted of assaulting farmer

27 Jun

Badger Snaring Victim (Ireland)

‘Ya thick c*** ya’: A Department of Agriculture employee with responsibility for the culling of badgers has been convicted of assaulting a farmer in a Mayo mart. Convicting Patrick Sweeney at Castlebar District Court, Judge Mary Devins said his evidence did not strike her as credible.

Read the full report below and scroll down for more information on Ireland’s cruel badger cull in which an estimated 120,000 badgers have been cruelly snared and killed to-date.


‘Ya thick c*** ya’: Farmer attacked by Department of Agriculture employee at mart
Irish Independent Farming, June 27 2017
by Anton McNulty

An employee with the Department of Agriculture was convicted of assaulting a farmer in a Mayo mart after the judge found his evidence was not credible.

Patrick Sweeney (62) of Blackfort Close, Castlebar, Co Mayo was fined €500 and ordered to pay Gerry Carney €750 in compensation for assaulting him at Balla Mart, Co Mayo on April 23, 2016.

The court heard there was a long-standing animosity between the two men for over 30 years.

Patrick Sweeney, who works full-time with the Department of Agriculture in Wildlife Services, with responsibility for the culling of badgers, denied the charge when evidence was heard in Achill District Court in May.

Gerry Carney (49) said he was at the mart and was walking past various cattle pens when Patrick Sweeney swung a gate open and hit him on his left shoulder.


He said he was stunned and said to Mr Sweeney ‘ya thick c*** ya’ but kept walking. Mr Carney said he then felt a foot between his legs and that he was tripped by Mr Sweeney and almost fell over.

After the trip, he said Mr Sweeney then came alongside him and elbowed him in the jaw.

Another witness, Willie Faherty told the court he was present on the day, and saw Mr Sweeney hit Mr Carney with the gate and then shove him.

Mr Sweeney claimed Mr Carney’s description of what occurred as a “fabricated cock and bull story”. He said he opened a gate to get a wild cow into a pen and inadvertently collided his back with Mr Carney. He said that was the only physical contact between them.

However, at last week’s sitting of Castlebar District Court, Judge Mary Devins found that Mr Sweeney’s evidence did not strike her as credible and she convicted him of the offence.

Indo Farming


Ireland’s cruel badger snaring slaughter

An estimated 120,000 badgers have been cruelly snared and killed by the Department of Agriculture since 1984. The assault on this supposedly protected species takes place under licence from the National Parks and Wildlife Service and is part of a so-called bovine TB Eradication Scheme – a failed and discredited operation that has been described as “slaughter masquerading as science”.

Bernie Barrett of Badger Watch Ireland describes how badgers suffer under the Department’s scheme: “The method of capture is a barbaric wire snare which holds the helpless badger in excruciating pain until it is dispatched by gunshot. That’s provided the animal has not agonisingly strangled itself beforehand. When nursing female badgers are snared and shot, their cubs are left to starve to death underground.”

According to the Irish Wildlife Trust, 6,000 Department of Agriculture snares are set in Ireland every night and there are fears that the species is now endangered. The IWT is opposed to the badger cull and states on its website: “Badgers can die over extended periods struggling in these hideous devices while their young starve underground. Not only is it barbaric and unethical, recent findings have shown it to be ineffective in the war on bovine TB. Nobody has ever counted badgers accurately in this country and while it has always been assumed that they are common animals, this can no longer be taken for granted.”


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Ireland: Stop badger snaring cruelty NOW

Please appeal to the Agriculture Minister to show compassion and suspend the cruel badger snaring scheme. Remind the Minister that the badger is a protected species in Ireland and that the Animal Health and Welfare Act, for which he is responsible, clearly states: “A person shall not do, or fail to do, anything or cause or permit anything to be done to an animal that causes unnecessary suffering to, or endanger the health or welfare of, an animal”. Tell him that research has shown that “badger culling apparently has the capacity to increase badger-to-badger transmission of infection, potentially undermining anticipated reductions in badger-to-cattle transmission.”

Minister Michael Creed
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Fax: +353 (0)1-661 1013.
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6 reasons to say NO to greyhound racing

16 Jun

Please DOWNLOAD, print and distribute outside greyhound tracks.


Greyhounds too slow to win races and also retired greyhounds are killed: Greyhounds can live up to 14 years but in the Irish greyhound industry, the lifespan is just 3-4 years. On RTE’s Prime Time, a spokesperson for Limerick Animal Welfare stated: “We believe that there are probably 10,000 greyhounds put to sleep every year. We’ve had so many instances of finding them shot, ears cut off, brutalized, drowned.” In a Cork 96FM radio interview, a former Irish Greyhound Board chairman said he believed it is “absolutely okay” to kill thousands of dogs and that there can’t be greyhound racing without euthanasia.


Greyhounds sustain painful injuries when they slip and fall on tracks: It is very distressing to see greyhounds writhing in agony and hearing them crying out when they crash out of races. Hundreds of injured dogs are destroyed at Irish tracks every year. The injuries could be treated but, because this costs money and the dogs are less likely to later win races, they are instead killed. No mercy is shown because it’s cash before compassion.


Some greyhounds are mutilated: Among the victims is an emaciated greyhound dumped in Tipperary with her ears burned (to remove markings which would identify the owner) and the tip of her tail hacked off. According to industry insiders quoted in an Irish Sun report, this dog’s case is the “tip of the iceberg” and not an isolated incident. They added: “This type of brutality is happening all the time. It’s the disgusting underbelly of the greyhound world.”


Irish greyhounds are being sent abroad to countries with little or no animal welfare: They are ending up in Macau where they are kept in concrete cells and killed if they stop winning, China where they may be sold on to the dog meat trade and boiled alive, Spain where they are hung from trees and dumped down wells and Pakistan where they suffer from heat exhaustion. The Irish Government has shamefully refused to ban exports to these destinations.


Greyhounds are illegally drugged to make them run faster or slower: Dogs are doped by owners to influence the outcome of races so that they can win on bets. This is why many have stopped gambling on greyhound racing. The Morris review, commissioned by the Irish Greyhound Board itself, acknowledged that doping is a problem. A Joint Agriculture Committee report stated: “The use of controlled and illegal substances in racing in Ireland is of grave concern.” Drugs used include stanozolol, cocaine and viagra and dogs suffer as a result.


Greyhounds are not the only animals who are suffering: The illegal blooding of greyhounds – using live rabbits, hares, kittens and other small animals – is a cruel training method in the greyhound industry. One Irish Independent greyhound scene journalist noted: “The bald truth is that greyhound racing would not continue to exist without blooding. It follows that, with a constant greyhound population of close on 30,000, blooding must be widespread. Don’t expect an admission of that from Bord na gCon.”

Irish Council Against Blood Sports – Working to end animal cruelty in Ireland
PO Box 88, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland. Find us on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter

For more information on our work or to make a donation, visit

Mullingar greyhound track now “in jeopardy”

12 Jun

As Ireland’s cruel greyhound industry continues to crumble, it has emerged that Mullingar greyhound track is now “in jeopardy”. The track is apparently struggling to get enough entries to run a Sunday meeting and there are threats of a picket outside.

The suspension of “unofficial trials” at the Mullingar track is, according to the local greyhound owners association, “putting the track in jeopardy and going to have a detrimental effect on the dog pool which is already struggling to get the required amount of dogs to run a Sunday meeting”. The suspension follows the launch of a probe into alleged betting irregularities which saw €50,000 being paid out on 72 near-simultaneous bets on a race at the track.

At a meeting held at the track, the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) was told that “owners were already talking about a picket on the track unless the trials are reinstated immediately”.

This comes in the same week it was reported that Clonmel greyhound track is “in serious trouble”, with track supporters forced to hold an extraordinary general meeting. The track is in such serious trouble that the “track supporters club is being asked to pay wages and fuel for [the track] tractor”.

Earlier this year, Harold’s Cross greyhound stadium in Dublin was shut down, leading to ongoing pickets outside nearby Shelbourne Park stadium. The blockade and subsequent suspension of racing could, predicts the IGB’s interim CEO, damage the industry beyond repair.

The Irish public is clearly rejecting the greyhound industry which has seen massive falls in track attendance, betting, meetings and sponsorship. More and more people are boycotting it due to growing awareness about the cruelty and killing of dogs and the export of greyhounds to countries such as China and Pakistan where there are little or no animal welfare standards.

It is time for the government to finally stop ploughing millions of euros of taxpayers’ money into this dying industry. At present, the greyhound board receives over €307,000 per week as part of a 2017 grant. This brings the total handed over by the government since 2001 to a quarter of a billion euros.


Contact the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and all your local TDs and demand an end to the funding of the greyhound industry.

Email “No more funding for cruel greyhound industry” to,,

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
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Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses


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Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry

Don’t attend greyhound races or community fund-raisers held at greyhound tracks (these are a significant source of funding for the cruel greyhound industry).

Efforts to restrict night time hunting in Ireland

12 Jun

Letter to the Editor in The Kerryman highlights efforts by authorities to restrict night time hunting…

Night-time hunters on the warpath
The Kerryman, May 17th 2017

SIR, Ireland’s firearm owning community is on the warpath. What has upset these gun gurriers is that at a recent meeting of the Firearms Consultative Panel (FCP), a committee tasked to advise the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on firearms issues, a report from the National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS), compiled with the help of a working group, which included the Sports Coalition (SC), was presented to the meeting for its approval concerning the issue of night-time hunting.

The use of firearms to hunt wild animals and birds at night is an ongoing issue in the Irish countryside with reports of illegal hunting, trespass, criminal activity and incidents involving the shooting of humans and farm animals.

The report made a number of recommendations to tackle the issue of the use of firearms for night time hunting. Among them was a ban on shooting between 12am and 6am from 1st September to 31st March; a requirement to inform the landowner of your hunting starting and finishing time as well as that the Gardaí be notified that you will be hunting in the area.

Irish firearms owners have been preaching for years that they are upholders of the law attaining to firearms usage so you would think they would welcome these recommendations.

Think again as the small Irish shooting community have gone into spasms of outrage in response to what appear to be sensible recommendations to tackle the scourge of night time shooting.

Ireland’s gun lobby is spraying verbal vitriol like an out of control machine gun while, predicting the end of the world as we know it if any attempt to restrict access to night time shooting.

The display of such opposition to an attempt to put a control framework on night time shooting exposes the true nature of those who engage in the recreational killing of wild animals and birds.

They want unfettered access to their live victims even if it means disrupting the lives of those living in the countryside who wish no harm to wildlife.

Association of Hunt Saboteurs, Dublin 1

Fine Gael politicians’ greyhound used in cruel coursing

12 Jun

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and Finance Minister Michael Noonan are owners of a greyhound used in the cruel bloodsport of hare coursing, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports can reveal.

As highlighted last year, Ministers Creed and Noonan were part of a 14-man syndicate of Fine Gael politicians who bought greyhound “Swift Starlet”. It has emerged that the dog was not only used in greyhound racing but also in coursing.

Such was the exploitation of the dog that on at least one occasion, she was used for both hare coursing and greyhound racing in the same day. Information uncovered by ICABS reveals that Swift Starlet was entered into the “All Age Bitch Stake” at Gorey coursing meeting on Saturday 26th October 2013. Afterwards she was transported 190 km to race in the “Ghoulish & Ghastly A3 525” at Dundalk greyhound track. Records show that she finished in 4th position, with winnings of €0.00.

The Irish Coursing Club website lists Swift Starlet as being owned by the Oir Syndicate – made up of 14 Fine Gael TDs. Along with Minister Michael Creed and Minister Michael Noonan, the other co-owners include pro-coursing TDs Joe Carey (Clare), Brendan Griffin (Kerry) and then Environment Minister Phil Hogan as well as current Senator Jerry Buttimer who recently defended massive government subsidies to the greyhound industry.

The Irish Greyhound Board website shows that Swift Starlet was entered into 65 races between July 2012 and August 2014 and won 7. The total prize money is listed at €2,179 – €1,321 less than the €3,500 the politicians paid to purchase her.

The last record of Swift Starlet is at Mullingar greyhound track on 30th August 2014 where she came last. What happened to her next? Emails and tweets asking if she is alive or dead have been sent to Ministers Creed and Noonan, and to the other co-owners of the dog, but all have gone unanswered.

In the year that Finance Minister Noonan joined “The Oir” greyhound syndicate, €11.3 million was paid out by the government to the Irish Greyhound Board. In December 2016, Minister Noonan approved the latest grant of €16 million, bringing the total to around a quarter of a billion euro since 2001. Minister Creed continues to refuse to stop the use of public money to prop up a dying industry with inherent cruelty, massive debts, declining sponsorship and falling attendance. Responding to calls for the funding to be scrapped, he recently said: “the greyhound industry is part of the social fabric of our country…I have no plans to reduce funding of the sector.”
Please sign and share our petition
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry

Join us in asking Minister Creed, Minister Noonan and the other Fine Gael politicians what happened to Swift Starlet. Email “Where is Swift Starlet?” to,,,,,

Michael Noonan (Limerick City, Fine Gael)
Minister for Finance
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6764735

Michael Creed TD (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
Minister for Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
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Joe Carey TD (Clare, Fine Gael)
Tel: +353 (0)1-6183337
Tweet to @joecareytd

Brendan Griffin TD (Kerry County, Fine Gael)
Tel: +353 (0)1-6184480
Tweet to @BGriffinTD

Senator Jerry Buttimer
Tel: +353 (0)1 6183380
Tweet to @jerrybuttimer

Phil Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development
Tweet to @PhilHoganEU


Given the ongoing fall in attendances at tracks, it is clear that the general public has little interest in greyhound racing. Tell the Irish Government to stop wasting precious funds on this dying industry.

Email “Stop funding the dying greyhound industry” to,,

“Less and less people are going to the dogs”

12 Jun

“Less and less people are going to the dogs”, “a lot of tracks are falling into disrepair”, the turnover of bookies has dropped “very, very significantly”, “in another couple of years, there will be no greyhound industry”. Some of the comments made at a recent meeting of the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine (6th December 2016) at which Agriculture Minister Michael Creed defended the government’s granting of 80 million euro of taxpayers’ money to the horse and greyhound industries.

The Minister, who has been involved in greyhound racing (co-owning a greyhound with other Fine Gael TDs) declared that the funding provided to the greyhound sector “helps sustain a long standing tradition as the industry is part of the social fabric of our country”.

Refusing to acknowledge that it’s a dying industry with a 50 per cent fall in track attendance and a 58 per cent drop in sponsorship, Minister Creed and the government continues to plough scarce public funds into greyhound racing, including €16 million in Budget 2017 (bringing the total handed over in the past 15 years to around a quarter of a billion euros.

A claim by Minister Creed that the greyhound industry “employs over 10,300 people” was ridiculed by one politician present. Labour Party’s Willie Penrose (a pro-bloodsports TD from Westmeath) said: “Some people tell me that the estimate that there are 10,000 people employed in the industry is such a gross over-estimate that it’s almost laughable.”

“You talk to people in the greyhound industry and they tell you ‘in another couple of years, there will be no greyhound industry’,” he stated. “The owners are disappearing and everything else. There are huge questions in terms of the integrity of the industry. That’s a huge issue. You can beat around bushes all you like and dive for cover but that’s the big issue. That comes glaring out of the [Morris] report, doesn’t it. That has to be tackled…The governance area has to be tightened up. Governance is important because you’re giving huge lumps of state money that is extremely scarce. We still can’t get a lot of resources that are required in other areas that have huge human costs and impact.”

Charlie McConalogue TD (Fianna Fail, Donegal) agreed that “80 million is obviously a significant amount of funds to allocate on an annual basis” but was keen to “acknowledge the role the horse racing industry and greyhound industry play in rural Ireland and the important role that state funding has played in relation to that.”

“I think it’s important we do work to protect that and see both sectors develop and be enhanced as well,” he said.

Also speaking at the meeting in Leinster House were pro-coursing Sinn Fein TDs, Martin Kenny and Martin Ferris.

Martin Kenny challenged the level of funding being granted, saying “€80 million is an awful lot of money to be putting into organisations like this.”

Focusing on horse racing, which received €64 million in Budget 2017, the Sligo Leitrim TD condemned as “simply unacceptable” and “wrong” the “amount of public money that’s going in to pay for the prize money at the big races”.

“In regard to Bord na gCon and the whole integrity of that industry, that is something that really needs to be looked at,” he continued. “Everywhere I go, when I talk to people, they throw their eyes up to heaven. We have the recent case of the abducted dog. That all leads to this notion of the shenanigans that’s going on…I know people who are engaged in the industry (from the point of view of looking after the dog tracks) and they’re telling me that a lot of the dog tracks are bit by bit falling into disrepair because less and less people are going to the dogs and the main reason for that is this impression that is out there and I have to say, it’s not without foundation.”

Although praising greyhound breeders and their “value” to rural communities, Martin Ferris admitted that “in no way am I satisfied with the integrity of some of what’s going on in relation to that industry…I think there’s an awful lot of cleaning up [to be done] and the integrity has to be restored.”

He went on to criticise the horse racing industry, saying “there are many people that would be listening to contributions here that have a very, very poor view of sections within the horse racing sector…you have some major trainers and horse owners who pay no tax in the country.”

Despite having “serious reservations”, however, he pledged his continued support – “I have always voted for it in the interest of what I call the common good in order to protect the small person trying to keep a little industry going in rural Ireland.”

Jackie Cahill TD (Fianna Fail, Tipperary), a coursing supporter and owner of racing greyhounds, urged those present at the meeting to “make some recognition of track bookmakers and the difficulty they are facing.” On-course turnover for bookies has “dropped very, very significantly”, he revealed.


Please sign and share our petition
Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry

Don’t attend greyhound races or community fund-raisers held at greyhound tracks (these are a significant source of funding for the cruel greyhound industry).

Greyhound racing should not be funded by the people of Ireland, the majority of whom have no interest in it and are rightly opposed to an industry in which dogs are injured, dumped and killed. Please join us in urging the government to stop wasting precious funds on this dying industry.

Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6764735

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Department of Agriculture
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 (0)1-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
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Andrew Doyle TD
Minister of State, Dept of Agriculture
Tweet to @ADoyleTD

Major losses for Irish greyhound tracks

9 Jun

“Galway greyhound stadium – loss. Kingdom greyhound stadium – loss. Limerick greyhound stadium – loss. Waterford greyhound stadium – loss. Youghal stadium – loss. Mullingar greyhound stadium – loss”: Wateford politician, David Cullinane TD (Sinn Fein) highlighting that many of Ireland’s greyhound tracks have incurred major financial losses.

A meeting of the Public Accounts Committee (4th May 2017), focused on the 2015 Financial Statements of the Irish Greyhound Board and heard that the taxpayer-funded greyhound industry is losing huge amounts of money.

The accounts showed the losses as follows:

– The food and beverage side of the greyhound industry had a profit of €64,000 but a loss of €307,912 – an overall loss.

– Galway Greyhound Stadium had a profit of €169,850 and a loss of €233,645 – an overall loss.

– The Kingdom Greyhound Racing Company has a profit of €130,000 and a loss of €135,000 – an overall loss.

– Waterford and Mullingar greyhound tracks – both had losses

– Youghal greyhound track – “a very significant loss”

Just two greyhound tracks were said to have made a profit. Cork Greyhound Race Company Limited had a profit of €310,015 and a loss of €221,522 – “a profit of about €90,000” while Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium showed a profit of €725,000 and a loss of €174,000.

ICABS has brought to the attention of Deputy Cullinane and the members of the PAC a statement from the Greyhound Owners and Breeders Federation which claims that when prize money payments are taken into account, “Shelbourne Park is actually another loss making venue for the IGB…The bottom line is that Shelbourne Park needed €34,972 of tax payers’ money to shore up its losses in 2015.”

The losses at greyhound tracks are not at all surprising with huge drops in track attendance and sponsorship over the past few years.

Read a full transcript of the PAC meeting at


Don’t attend greyhound races or fundraisers/hen parties/office parties held at greyhound tracks.

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Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry