Exposed: The Westmeath Cllrs opposed to ban on cruel hare coursing

14 Dec

Westmeath Cllrs against ban on hare coursing copy

Eleven Westmeath County Councillors shamefully voted AGAINST a motion which called for a ban on cruel hare coursing. Among those who rejected the motion at the 28 November 2022 council meeting, were individuals who previously claimed they are opposed to animal cruelty.

The motion, presented by Green Party Councillor Hazel Smyth and seconded by her party colleague Louise Heavin, was sadly defeated after the following Council members voted against it.

Fine Gael Councillors: John Dolan, Andrew Duncan, Tom Farrell,
Fianna Fail Councillors: Ken Glynn, Aengus O’Rourke, Frankie Keena, Aoife Davitt, Paddy Hill, John Shaw.
Labour Party Councillors: Denis Leonard, Johnny Penrose.

Independent Councillor Michael Dollard abstained.

Absent from the meeting and not registering a vote were:
Fianna Fail Councillors Vinny McCormack, Bill Collentine and Liam McDaniel.
Fine Gael Councillors Emily Wallace and Frank McDermott.
Independent Councillor Paul Hogan.

Presenting the motion, Cllr Smyth condemned coursing as an “immoral, depraved practice” and a “medieval, heinous source of amusement for people that is unnecessary in this day and age – we know better”.

Councillor Aengus O’Rourke (Fianna Fail) was one of those who voted against the motion. This despite the fact that he had previously declared: “Yes I would be in favour of a ban on cruel blood sports.” Cllr O’Rourke has also in the past stated: “I am totally opposed to any form of animal abuse, neglect or cruelty. I would support a call to ban any ‘sporting’ activity that would cause or lead to the stress, injury or death of an animal.”

Labour Party representative Denis Leonard also voted against the motion. He is on record as saying: “I do not agree with cruelty to animals.”

Cllr Andrew Duncan farcically claimed at the council meeting that hare coursing is an “integral and intrinsic part of the rural fabric”. In reality, most people in Ireland – including in rural areas – want coursing banned.

Cllr Duncan went on to say that many country sports such as shooting, fishing and horse and greyhound racing are under pressure from lobby groups and asked if coursing was banned “what’s next?”.

Cllr Johnnie Penrose outrageously referred to very high standards at coursing meetings where hares are forced to run for their lives in front of pairs of greyhounds. He said that if coursing is banned “we’ll have nothing left; we’ll have no fishing, no shooting, no racing, they might even ban GAA.”

The Westmeath Topic reported that Cllr Frankie Keena “said he felt that hare coursing is well regulated and was worried a ban would effect other industries”.

Shame on the 11 Councillors who voted against the motion. They are very much in the minority in Ireland and do not represent the views of most people. A RED C opinion poll found that 77% want the government to ban coursing, with a mere 9% disagreeing with a ban.

Thank you to Cllr Hazel Smyth for presenting the motion and to Cllr Louise Heavin for seconding it.

Find out more about the views of Westmeath Councillors in relation to animal cruelty issues at Don’t support politicians who support animal cruelty.


“It’s pure animal cruelty”: Near FM interview with Cllr Hazel Smyth

Westmeath Independent: Councillors oppose motion seeking ban on hare coursing


HELP THE HARES: Urgently contact Heritage Minister Darragh O’Brien and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan and tell them to withdraw the 2022-23 hare coursing licences and also stop the hunting and shooting of Irish Hares.

Email “Stop all hare coursing, hunting and shooting NOW” to;

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

Malcolm Noonan TD (Green Party, Carlow Kilkenny)
Minister of State for Heritage
Tel: (01) 888 2425 OR (01) 618 3156

It is time for politicians to consign coursing and hunting 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

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

Please support our campaign with a donation

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