Minister shamefully issues licences for cruel coursing

19 Jul

coursing licence issued 2022 23 copy

Heritage Minister Darragh O’Brien has shamefully issued licences which allow coursing clubs to net thousands of hares from the wild and use them as live bait for greyhounds to chase. 

Minister O’Brien has disregarded appeals to him to refuse the licences and spare hares the cruelty of coursing.

The licences give the go-ahead to over 80 coursing clubs to capture hares from the countryside between 12th August 2022 and 28 February 2023, hold them in captivity for weeks or months and eventually force them to run for their lives in front of the dogs.

Download a copy of the licences at

“All hares suffer fear and stress and every coursing season, hare injuries and deaths occur,” we stated in our appeal to Minister O’Brien. “Among the injuries documented are broken back, spinal injury, broken legs, damaged toes and dislocated hips.”

Hares suffer at all stages of coursing – during capture, while held captive in compounds and at the coursing meetings where they can be seen desperately running as a merciless mob cheer the greyhounds on and gamble on which dog will force the hare to change direction first.

Our appeal was also directed at Green Party Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan who has described himself as “an animal rights activist” and in the past condemned coursing, saying the appalling treatment of hares “highlights a shocking disregard for the welfare of the animals”. In 2020, he stated: “We all want to see hare coursing ended – it’s a cruel practice.”

Coursing is set to continue despite fears relating to the spread of disease, including RHD2, the highly contagious virus that can spread easily between hares and which, Minister O’Brien’s predecessor warned, could wipe out the Irish Hare species. Hares affected by the virus suffer the most horrendous death, with swollen eyelids, partial paralysis and bleeding from the eyes and mouth.

“The National Parks and Wildlife Service division of your department has made it clear that ‘the catching of hares in nets, their transportation in boxes and the collection and holding of hares in confined areas can all be considered to increase the risk of disease spread’,” we reminded Ministers O’Brien and Noonan. “The NPWS went on to state that ‘if one infected animal is found in netting for a coursing meeting then the entire capture would need to be put down.’”

“With the suffering, stress, injury and death caused to hares at coursing meets, there should be no hesitation in finally ending this shameful activity by refusing a 2022-23 licence,” we stated in our appeal. “This would be widely welcomed by the 77% majority of Irish citizens who want coursing banned (just 9% disagree with a ban. Source: RED C poll).“

In issuing the latest licences, Minister O’Brien has disregarded the majority view in Ireland that coursing should be banned. A RED C opinion poll has confirmed that 77% are in favour of a ban while just 9% disagree with a ban.


HELP THE HARES: Contact Heritage Minister Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan and urge them to show compassion, respect the wishes of the majority and revoke the coursing licences.

Email “Revoke the 2022-23 licences for cruel hare coursing” to;

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

Malcolm Noonan TD (Carlow Kilkenny)
Minister of State for Heritage
Tel: (01) 618 3148 OR (01) 618 3156

With a RED C opinion poll confirming that a 77 per cent majority of citizens want hare coursing banned (with just 9% disagreeing with a ban), 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 pledge support for Paul Murphy TD’s upcoming Animal Health & Welfare (Ban on Hare Coursing) Bill 2020.

Fianna Fáil TDs;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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

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

Sinn Fein TDs;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Labour Party TDs;;;;;;

Please sign and share the petitions

Ban Blood Sports in Ireland

Sinn Fein: Support a ban on cruel hare coursing

Ireland – Ban cruel hare coursing

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Witness the cruelty of hare coursing in Ireland

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