As COVID19 cases soar, coursers shamefully pushing for exemption

5 Jan

coursing high court jan 2021 copy

On the day that another 6,110 cases of COVID19 were confirmed in Ireland, it emerged that the Irish Coursing Club is shamefully attempting to reverse the government’s decision to stop coursing during the nationwide Level 5 restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

The latest COVID19 restrictions removed coursing from a list of exempted activities. The earlier Level 3 measures had controversially included “approved coursing events” among the activities allowed to proceed. The Level 5 restrictions state: “At Level 5, the public health risk means that you will be asked to stay at home, except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes, or to take exercise within 5km of home. There will be no gatherings other than small numbers at funerals and weddings.”

The Irish Times is reporting today, 4 January 2021, that the Irish Coursing Club “has brought a High Court challenge against the government’s failure to include it in a list of activities allowed to operate during the current Covid-19 restrictions.”

Until forced to stop, crowds of coursers had disgracefully been congregating in coursing fields to watch hares running for their lives. Two people were permitted entry with each greyhound, meaning that around 150 people were in attendance at each meeting. In additional, 30 club members were permitted to attend “to facilitate the meeting”.

For example, at Liscannor coursing meeting in Clare in October, an estimated 170 attended. On the first day of the Abbeydorney meet in County Kerry, 74 greyhounds were listed, meaning as many as 178 people could be in attendance. A long line of vehicles could be seen parked bumper to bumper inside the coursing field.

In stark contrast, just 10 mourners are currently allowed to attend a funeral and 6 a wedding ceremony/reception whether indoors or outdoors.

Despite growing worries about coronavirus and increasing infections and deaths, the coursers do not want to let the pandemic get in the way of their cruel pastime. A published coursing fixtures list included 65 1-, 2- and 3-day meetings around the country up until the end of February. In an attempt to get around impending Level 5 restrictions, the dates of several coursing meetings had been brought forward.

There is now a renewed appeal to the government to permanently stop coursing, in line with the majority view that the bloodsport should be banned. According to a RED C poll, 77% of citizens want the government to ban coursing, with just 9% wanting it to continue. With COVID19 cases increasing, the deadly RHD2 virus threatening the future of the Irish Hare and the suffering, stress, injury and death caused to hares at coursing meets, there should be absolutely no hesitation in finally ending this shameful activity. This move for Irish wildlife would be widely welcomed in Ireland and around the world.

Find out more about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how you can protect yourself and your family at


Please contact Minister Darragh O’Brien and demand a permanent withdrawal of the 2020-21 coursing licence and the immediate release of all hares currently in captivity in coursing compounds.

Minister Darragh O’Brien (Fianna Fail, Dublin Fingal)
Tel: (01) 618 3802 OR (086) 251 9893

If you are aware of any coursing activities taking place in your area, contact the local Gardai and ask them to take action – find contact details at

With a 77 per cent majority of Irish citizens wanting hare coursing banned, it is now time for politicians to consign this nasty bloodsport to history. Join us in contacting all TDs and urging them to act to ensure that a ban is urgently introduced. Visit the Oireachtas website for contact details for TDs

Urge Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar to respect the wishes of the majority and ban hare coursing and all bloodsports.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin
Phone: +353 (0)1–618 4350 or +353 (0)21-432 0088

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar
Telephone: +353 (0)1-640 3133
Tweet to:

Contact Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Green Party, Sinn Fein and Labour Party TDs and urge them to back a ban on cruel hare coursing.

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Fine Gael TDs;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; Patrick.O’;;;;;;;;;

Green Party TDs;;;;;;;;;;

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Labour Party TDs;;;;;

Please sign and share the petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland

Ireland – Ban cruel hare coursing

If possible, please support our campaign with a donation

Witness the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

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