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Don't trample on a social tradition

History and traditions are so powerful, a nation is built on them. Especially ours.

Community, be it local or national, is brought together by a shared desire, a shared goal to achieve success or merely enjoy a shared experience, be it the ICA, darts in your local on a Monday night, the tidy towns committee, GAA, soccer, or rugby and so on.

The FAI was established in 1921, essentially out of a grievance against the established Northern-based IFA, as there was a feeling they favoured Ulster-based players.

Further back, in Thurles in 1884, the GAA was born.

Earlier still, in 1879, the northern and southern rugby unions amalgamated to form the IRFU -- all-powerful institutions still going today and providing an essential contribution to country and community.

Hunting in Ireland is also a tradition, it precedes all the above.

I can only talk about my own county where the earliest record discoverable shows that a Mr Nicholson, of Balrath, kept a pack of foxhounds in 1723 and they were kept till the early 19th century, becoming the Clongill Hunt and eventually the Meath Hunt.

The Ward Union Hunt was formed from an amalgamation of The Garrison and Ward Hounds around the time of the Crimean war in 1854, although stag hunting in this area precedes that.

Hunting in this area is not alone a tradition but also an important employer; directly and indirectly the same families are involved in both hunts for generations and I'm sure the same is replicated throughout this country.

By calling on a ban on hunting you are effectively calling for people to lose their jobs, their bread and butter.

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The Ward Union Hunt's injunction against Minister Gormley was victory for the common man, a victory for democracy.

Minister Gormley has tried the bully-boy tactics, trying to steamroll over, in six months of office, hundreds of years of tradition.

Whether you support hunting is not the issue. Sometimes people have to stand up for what they believe in.

Each to their own, that's life.

HANK HEFFERNAN

DRUMREE, CO MEATH


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