Pro-bloodsports TD tells members of the public to: “Exercise a small bit of cop-on and stay away from” protected wild animals

7 Oct

A Fine Gael TD who has opposed bans on cruelty to wild animals has today told members of the public to “exercise a small bit of cop-on and stay away from” protected wild animals.

Patrick O’Donovan TD (Limerick County) who is Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was speaking on RTE Radio 1’s News at One today (7 October 2022) in relation to a disturbing report from the caretakers of the Great Blasket Island who witnessed a visitor to the island throwing a seal cub into the water and holding the animal up for a selfie.

Minister of State O’Donovan confirmed that the seal cub had later died, saying “the parents of that cub don’t come back once they feel their position has been intruded upon.”

“We have been at pains in the past and we have great co-operation from the ferry operators to encourage people not to go near the wildlife but unfortunately some people do,” he stated. “We would ask for people’s cooperation here. This is a protected area. These are wild animals in their natural habitat. They need to be left alone. And we would ask people to exercise a small bit of cop-on and stay away from them.”

Ironically, Patrick O’Donovan is a supporter of hare coursing, which involves netting thousands of wild hares, manhandling them, removing them from their natural habitat, holding them in captivity for months and eventually releasing them into an enclosed field to be chased by pairs of greyhounds. All for the amusement of a merciless mob who cheer the dogs on and gamble on which one will be the first to force the hare to change direction. Every coursing season, hares suffer injuries and die on coursing fields after the muzzled dogs catch them and maul them into the ground.

In 2019, O’Donovan was among a group of Fine Gael politicians who lobbied then Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan to reverse a decision to stop hare coursing due to fears that the deadly and highly contagious RHD2 virus could wipe out the species.

The Irish Times reported at the time that Josepha Madigan “was called to a heated meeting with rural Fine Gael Ministers, TDs and Senators over a ban on hare coursing…Sources said 16 members of the Fine Gael parliamentary party attended the meeting with Ms Madigan in Leinster House to express their concerns. Those present included Ministers Patrick O’Donovan, Paul Kehoe and Helen McEntee; TDs Pat Deering, Martin Heydon, Joe Carey, Tom Neville and Kate O’Connell; and Senator Paudie Coffey.” (Rural Fine Gael TDs confront Madigan over hare coursing ban, Irish Times, 10 October 2019).

Patrick O’Donovan has previously helped to block bans on some of Ireland’s worst acts of cruelty to wild animals. In June 2016, he voted against Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan’s bill which aimed to ban cruel hare coursing. In 2013, he voted against amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which sought to secure a ban on fox hunting, hare coursing, digging out, terrierwork, ferreting, badger culling, fur farming and the use of animals in circuses.

He is a supporter of greyhound racing and horse racing. In 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, he voted in favour of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund Regulations which granted €80 million/€80 million/€84 million/€84 million of taxpayers’ money to the two gambling activitie.

Despite all the revelations about cruelty and killing in greyhound racing, Minister O’Donovan appeared in a “Friends of Limerick Greyhound Stadium” list of individuals who contributed to the Irish St Leger greyhound race (published in the 2020 programme for the Irish St Leger Final).

Our message to Patrick O’Donovan is: Exercise a small bit of cop-on yourself and stop voting against proposed bans on appalling cruelty to Irish wildlife. You should finally acknowledge that the majority of citizens want fox hunting and hare coursing banned and government funding to greyhound racing stopped and accordingly change your stance on these animal cruelty issues.


Don’t support politicians who support cruelty to animals.

Contact Minister O’Donovan now and tell him that all wild animals need to be left alone. Urge him to back bans on fox hunting and hare coursing and stop voting in favour of funding to horse and greyhound racing.

Tel: (069) 779 98 OR (01) 618 3610

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: