By-elections 2019: Candidates and animal cruelty issues

19 Nov

On Friday 29th November, by-elections will be held in four constituencies around Ireland to replace the TDs recently elected to the European Parliament. Before you cast your vote, please check out our guide below in relation to candidate views on animal cruelty issues. Please choose compassionate candidates and reject those who support animal cruelty.

Cork North-Central

Oliver Moran (Green Party):
“[The Green Party] will end hare coursing, fox hunting, hare hunting and mink hunting for sport.” from a tweet to ICABS, 19th January 2016.

Fiona Ryan (Solidarity People Before Profit)
“I absolutely abhor any exploitation, endangerment and injury of animals for human entertainment and commit fully to support or put forward legislation that improves animal welfare, particularly in regards to bringing an end to live game hunting and exploitation within circuses.” from an email to ICABS, January 2016.

Other candidates
Senator Colm Burke (Fine Gael)
Cllr Padraig O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil)
John Maher (Labour)
Thomas Gould (Sinn Féin)
Sinead Halpin (Social Democrats)
Finian Toomey (Aontú)
James Coughlan (Workers’ Party)
Thomas Kiely (Housing Rights & Reform Alliance)

Dublin Mid-West

Cllr Paul Gogarty (Independent)
Paul Gogarty is a former Green Party TD.

“Hare coursing involves cruelty to both hares and dogs and this has to stop,” he stated. “I am not anti-greyhound racing, but an industry that knowingly engages in animal cruelty for profit is not one that should be allowed operate in such a fashion.” During a Dail debate on the Greyhound Industry (Doping Regulation) Bill 2006, 8th June 2006.

“If asked, the majority of people in Ireland wish to have stag hunting banned. The majority of people, including those living in rural areas, also wish to have hare coursing banned…the maths and the clout do not add up for the Green Party to ban hare coursing although we have expressed our desire to get rid of hare coursing.”

Green Party spokesperson on Arts, Sport and Tourism Paul Gogarty TD has called for a ban on all hare coursing, saying that the greyhound industry is covered in a cloud of cruelty and is in urgent need of reform. According to Deputy Gogarty, drag coursing, which involves the use of a mechanical bait, could and should replace the use of live hares. “Statistics show that 75 per cent of people living in the countryside and 90 per cent of city dwellers oppose hare coursing. So why are our legislators ignoring this fact? Perhaps this is because many of our elites own greyhounds, including politicians from several parties. During today’s debate a considerable number of contributors admitted to owning a greyhound; making it hard for many to take a balanced view of the industry. “Do these parliamentary colleagues condone the stress caused to hares that are captured for up to six weeks? Do they condone the deaths from stress and maulings that still occur, even with muzzles on the greyhounds? What about the illegal bloodings that still go on and the putting down of greyhounds that have outlived their economic usefulness? Is there not an element of hypocrisy involved?” Deputy Gogarty also questioned the continuation of the current high levels of funding for the dog and horse racing industries. from a statement by Paul Gogarty, Spokesperson on Arts, Sport & Tourism, Education & Science, 8th June 2006.


Cllr Peter Kavanagh (Green Party)

“As a Green, I am fundamentally opposed to bloodsports and the exploitation of animals. Cruelty in the name of entertainment is not the hallmark of a civilised society.”


Kellie Sweeney (Solidarity PBP)

People Before Profit condemn all forms of neglect and cruelty to animals. TD Gino Kenny was instrumental in helping getting the Equine centre in Clondakin for young people and their horses. It’s been a huge success.”

Read the full People Before Profit animal welfare policy at


Joanna Tuffy (Labour Party)
As a TD in 2010, Joanna Tuffy voted against the staghunt ban.

“Studies carried out on the Ward Union Hunt found evidence of physiological recovery within three or four days and full recovery within ten days, and two months post hunt the hunted deer were found to be in good health.” Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Committee and Remaining Stages, 29 June 2010 – In response, Minister Gormley stated: “I do not know what sort of information the Deputy has but one does not need to be a vet or any specialist to see that the animal in question is under severe stress. It is a domesticated animal. The vets to whom I have spoken have clearly stated that the animal is under severe stress.” Deputy Tuffy voted against the ban on staghunting.

“The Labour Party opposes this legislation [ban on Ward Union deerhunt] because it is the wrong approach to maximising the protection of wildlife. It does nothing to protect wildlife but has a much more cynical motivation. It is an all-out unilateral ban on the Ward Union Hunt…People in rural communities feel under threat from this legislation and are concerned it is the thin end of the wedge.”
Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010: Second Stage, 24 June 2010

Anne-Marie McNally (Social Democrats)

“Ban ban ban” from a 19th January 2016 tweet in reply to ICABS asking “Are you in favour of a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing.”

Francis Timmons (Independent, South Dublin County Council)
“I fully support [an end to the licensing of hare coursing]. I am against coursing.” Cllr Francis Timmons in an email to ICABS, August 2015.

“I support a ban [on foxhunting and hare coursing] and would support and /or put a motion down calling on a ban.” from an email to ICABS, September 2014.

Ruth Nolan (Independents 4 Change)
“I am not in favour of blood sports of any kind. I am willing to put forward any motion that will help stop such barbaric actions.” from an email to ICABS, September 2014.

Other candidates:
Cllr Emer Higgins (FG)
Shane Moynihan (FF)
Mark Ward (SF)
David Gardiner (Workers’ Party)

Dublin Fingal

Dr James Reilly (Fine Gael):
“Figures obtained by the Irish Independent show researchers in Trinity College spent more than 368,000 Euro on live animals in only 12 months to use in tests aimed at treating disease in humans. The figure is more than double what was spent the previous year. Dogs, pigs, rabbits, mice and rats have been used in the university’s medical experiments, but there is pressure from the EU to find other ways of conducting tests. The Trinity figures show the huge cost of “maintenance and welfare” during the same period, bringing the bill to 665,102 Euro. Between October 2011 and last September the university bought 15 pigs, 20,094 mice and 6,579 rats for use in its labs. The animals are tested as part of the exploration of treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and genetic disorders. The university said any research carried out on animals requires the prior licensing of the person and the project by the Minister for Health Dr James Reilly…the Irish Anti-Vivisection Society, which is campaigning for an end to the use of live animals, argues that animal experimentation ‘allows the infliction of pain and suffering’.”

As a TD in 2010, James Reilly voted against the staghunt ban.

Joe O’Brien (Green Party, Dublin Fingal):
“Yes indeed I am [in favour of a ban on foxhunting and hare coursing].” from a tweet to ICABS, January 19th, 2016.

Cllr Duncan Smith (Labour Party, Fingal County Council)
“I abhor the practice of hare coursing and foxhunting.” from a tweet to ICABS, May 2014.

Cormac McKay (Independent)
“I support you and your group and its objectives for animal protection and cruelty prevention.” from an email to ICABS, January 2016.


Dean Mulligan (Independents 4 Change)

“I fully support any initiative which puts animal rights to the fore, hare coursing, puppy farms, or dog racing are among the many animal welfare debacles in complete contravention of animals rights and politicians and public alike need to champion animal rights.”


Other candidates

Senator Lorraine Clifford Lee (FF)
Ann Graves (SF)
Tracy Carey (Soc Dems)
Gemma O’Doherty (Ind)
Glenn Brady (Ind)


Cinnamon Blackmore (Solidarity PBP)

Animals are often treated with cruelty in our society. This is largely because they are viewed as a commodity by the private, profit-driven sector. We condemn all forms of cruelty and neglect. We advocate decent conditions for animals – where offspring are not separated from their mothers too soon, and where animals are kept in clean environments that are not cramped. We are opposed to the use of growth hormones and unnecessary usage of antibiotics or steroids. The use of painful methods of killing – such as grinding up live chicks – is abhorrent and should be banned outright. Furthermore, we want to see the following policies brought into effect:

Introduce a complete ban on the hunting of wild mammals with hounds. Hunting wild mammals with hounds is cruel and out dated. Scientific research has shown that the welfare of a fox pursued by hounds is severely compromised and death is rarely instantaneous, contrary to the claims of the hunting industry.

Introduce a complete ban on coursing live hares. In 2015, almost 7000 hare’s were taken from the wild to be used in live coursing events by licensed coursing clubs. Despite the greyhounds being muzzled, the hares suffer fear and distress and some are killed or seriously injured and have to be euthanised. Live hares should not be used for this activity and alternatives should be introduced.

Read the full People Before Profit animal welfare policy at


Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fail)
Wexford County Councillor Malcolm Byrne has expressed opposition to coursing in Ireland, saying he would “support any legislation at national level that would ban hare coursing”. The Fianna Fail politician’s statement came in response to an ICABS email in which we highlighted the suffering caused to hares used as live lures in coursing. In September 2010, Cllr Byrne stated: “I am personally opposed to hare coursing, which I view as cruel.”

Melissa O’Neill (Irish Freedom Party)
“I am against any form of animal cruelty and would welcome and support this ban [on foxhunting and hare coursing].” from a text message to ICABS, June 2015.

Other candidates
Verona Murphy (FG)
Cllr George Lawlor (Labour)
Karen Dubsky (Green)
Johnny Mythen (SF)
Jim Codd (Aontú)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: