The Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, has confirmed that an incident involving a deer running onto a road in front of a vehicle during a Ward Union hunt is currently being investigated by Gardai.
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Responding to a Dail Question from Clare Daly, TD in relation to illegal stag hunting, the Minister said that “the specific incident referred to by the Deputy is currently under investigation.”
In a separate Dail question, Deputy Daly asked Arts and Heritage Minister, Heather Humprheys to “close off the loophole in existing legislation that is being exploited by the Ward Union Stag Union, to enable them to in effect hunt stags”.
Minister Humphreys maintained that “since the enactment of the legislation the Ward Union Hunt have operated a ‘drag hunt’ in order to comply with the legislation”.
“This form of hunting involves the release of a deer to set a scent over a course,” she stated. “Following the recapture of the deer, the hounds and horses follow the scent. This practice is not considered to be hunting, as defined in the Wildlife Acts.”
According to the Wildlife Amendment Act 2010, “a person who hunts deer with two or more dogs shall be guilty of an offence.” If you reside Meath or North County Dublin – areas in which the Ward Union operates – please familiarise yourself with the Wildlife Amendment Act 2010 and report any breaches to the Gardai.