Club: Tradition of coursing will continue as it has for 100 years
COURSING in Millstreet will take place "as it has done so for over 100 years" in the Town Park in early January.
That was the view from a member of Millstreet Coursing Club who pointed out that the Town Park was acquired in 1956 as a "recreational ground for the people of Millstreet."
The member said: "The coursing club helped to acquire the Town Park. This January we will mark 101 years in existence.
"The Town Park is run by an independent committee and while there may be a cross over with various clubs, such as our football club as well as all things GAA. It's a place for the people and to be used by the people."
He said there are walkways for people, as well as a new astroturf and €12,000 of new fencing was also put in place this year.
"Millstreet is very united as a parish. This year the town is on a high as we won the county final and now we're chasing the Munster title. There are strong links between the GAA and coursing," he said.
He said: " The Coursing Club also gets sponsorship every year from various businesses in the town. We have the support of the town and its people."
When it was put to the member that the Association of Hunt Saboteurs Ireland along with the Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports both made contact with The Corkman to outline their "disgust" at hare coursing taking place in Millstreet, the member said: "This raises its head every year and it comes up from outsiders. I have spoken to people in Millstreet and they are annoyed that outsiders are trying to create division in the parish."
He pointed out that Millstreet Coursing Club is not an illegal organisation and it is regulated by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
"We get a licence in August, which has 22 conditions attached. In addition, we're also regulated by the Department of Agriculture," he said.
He also made reference to Quercus, the Belfast University research body report which stated that Irish hares are 18 times more abundant in areas managed by the Irish Coursing Club than at similar sites in the wider countryside.
He also pointed out that without regulation, illegal hunting would take place - as is the case in the UK, he said.
"Coursing will take place in Millstreet on January 3 and January 4 in 2015 as it will take place in 2016. This is a tradition which we will be keeping, " he said.