Stag-hunting ban now a step closer
A BAN on stag hunting moved a step closer last night when Environment Minister John Gormley published the legislation to outlaw deer hunting with dogs.
The move will only hit one hunt in Ireland, the Ward Union in north Dublin and Co Meath. The Green Party leader plans to speed the legislation through the Dail so it can be enacted before the summer break.
The Wildlife Amendment Bill 2010 bans deer hunting with hounds and increases the maximum fines to €100,000 for wildlife-related offences.
But pro-hunt groups promised to continue their campaign, despite the draft law outlawing stag hunting with hounds.
Rural Ireland Says Enough (RISE) insisted it would continue lobbying TDs and senators to reject the plans for the ban proposed by the Green Party.
RISE spokesman Liam Cahill said Mr Gormley still had a long way to go before it becomes law. "He has many legislative hurdles to overcome and we'll be vigorously resisting it at every step," he said.
Under the new law, maximum fines will also be increased, with the first offence jumping from €500 to €1,000 and from €1,500 to €5,000 for a third offence.
The maximum on indictment increased from €50,000 to €100,000. The fines were last increased 10 years ago.
Mr Gormley pointed out the legislation had the backing of Fianna Fail as it was included in the new Programme for Government. "The Government has decided that this particular hunting practice should cease for animal welfare and public safety reasons," he said.