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Saturday 17 March 2018

Denials add to breeding legislation confusion

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

HUNTING dogs are not yet excluded from contentious new dog breeding laws, despite the claims of Independent TDs.

But Environment Minister John Gormley added further confusion to the process of passing the law yesterday by denying any deal had been done to get the legislation across the line -- contrary to what his own officials were saying.

Greyhounds will now be exempted from the regulations under the Dog Breeding Bill, as the existing law dating back to 1958 will be changed. But it is not yet clear whether this concession will be enough to quell the revolt of coalition TDs.

Behind the scenes negotiations are still ongoing between officials and representatives of the Fianna Fail backbenchers. The dog-breeding law will be debated in the Dail again today where Mr Gormley is expected to offer some clarity on his intentions.

Government sources said there was a deal, but said the minister was also under pressure from animal rights lobbyist not to water down the legislation.

Mr Gormley is caught between the demands of coalition TDs on one side and Green Party supporters on the other.

"If you move on one side, the other side is up in arms," a source said.

The minister is also granting exemptions from fees outlined in the legislation under the new inspection regime.

Mr Gormley added to the confusion himself yesterday by dismissing reports, confirmed by his own officials, which said concessions were agreed.

Independent TDs Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae say they will only vote for the legislation if groups affiliated to the Hunting Association of Ireland are granted a full and complete exemption.

Irish Independent

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