Wednesday 20 March 2019

Presidential hopeful defends association with hunting amid criticism

Gavin Duffy
Gavin Duffy

Payu Tiwari

PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Gavin Duffy has defended his association with hunting amid criticism from animal rights groups.

The former Dragon's Den entrepreneur confirmed his intention to seek a nomination for the race this weekend and pledged t run a "dynamic" campaign if he secures a nomination.

Mr Duffy is the former chairman of the Hunting Association of Ireland.

When asked if he was an advocate of blood sport, he said: “I defended the Ward Union Hunt, which is not a blood sport. The Ward Union Hunt holds the original, indigenous species of Irish red deer.”

“The Green Party wanted to ban it and if they had there was no plan for what we were going to do with the main herd of original Irish red deer in the country. The deer is never killed. Now some three died accidentally over 30 years or 20-odd years. But that’s something that I stand over.”

Mr Duffy said he thinks he will have the support of people involved in “rural pursuits.”

Speaking on Morning Ireland, he said: “I was president of the Hunting Association. There are approximately 700,000 people around the country who are involved in rural pursuits -hunting, shooting, fishing - who are involved in farming, et cetera, and they know me. They know my track record and I think they will be supporting me.”

Speaking about his decision to challenge Michael D Higgins in the presidential race, Mr Duffy said Mr Higgins “talks to our head” while he would be different and speak to “people’s hearts.”

He said that he would love to be out meeting the people of Ireland, representing them.

“I have enough energy for it. I will express the mood of the country at times of national tragedy and triumph," he said,

Both the Animal Rights Action Network and the Irish Council Against Blood Sports have criticised Mr Duffy following his announcement of his intentions to contest the race. 

The businessman will address a meeting of Waterford County Council on Tuesday at 4pm.

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