Tuesday 23 October 2018

Coursing meet on alert for protesters

Sarah Murphy

A MAJOR security operation is expected at the three-day National Coursing Festival starting in Clonmel today.

Extra security and gardai have been working with the festival in attempts to contain any possible trouble.

Threats were made last week by Animal Liberation Front protesters who warned they would sabotage the annual meet. Organisers nevertheless expect 25,000 people to attend the closed event at Clonmel Racecourse.

Gerry Desmond of the Irish Coursing Club said: "Everyone is hoping there is no trouble. There have been threats in the past week but whether they will lead to anything we just don't know. From a security point of view we are doing everything possible to ensure this does not happen."

Yesterday's open coursing at Bairne close to Clonmel town passed off without trouble. Mr Desmond claimed the sport was "very strong" and said people were coming from several countries for the event, in its 80th year.

John Tierney of Hunt Saboteurs said his group did not plan a protest.

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