| 13.5°C Dublin

Chase for land as hunt splits

IT'S unlikely that Carlow's foxes have been informed but the news for the winter ahead is not great for the south-east's bushy tailed fraternity.

Long used to pitting their survival skills against the Carlow Farmers' Hunt, they could well find themselves dodging a second pack of hounds this November following the news that the aforementioned hunt has split.

While the reasons for the split are unclear, both sides are certainly organising for the season ahead.

It is understood that the Carlow Farmers' Hunt pack, which was formerly based in Ballon, has now been divided. Those huntsmen who are still members of the Carlow Farmers' Hunt have based their dogs at new kennels near Bagenalstown. The rest of the pack is still kennelled in Ballon and will be hunted this year as the reformed Carlow Hunt.

However, land-owners in the county could well have a major say in developments as the summer progresses. Both sides in the dispute have invited land-owners to puppy shows and are also canvassing for permission to hunt holdings this winter. While it is believed that there are roughly equal numbers of huntsmen in the two camps, access to hunting ground could well decide which group eventually wins out.

However, land owners are not keen to get involved in the dispute, as Carlow IFA chairman John Kehoe explained.

"I have facilitated the hunt down the years but if they can't solve this problem I don't think I will this year. I doubt if farmers in the county will be willing to facilitate both hunts. I think they (the huntsmen) will have to sort out their differences."