Fingal Independent

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O'Toole defends stag hunting

THERE is something wrong when the leafy suburbs of the city begin to write and implement the laws for the meadows, mountains and stony soil of rural Ireland, Dublin-North based Independent Senator Joe O'Toole told the Seanad. Speaking on a new Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, he said hunting and aspects of this new legislation should be decided upon by local authorities.

'It is not the business of Government to make such decisions,' he said. 'Stag hunting or other types of hunting should be dealt with by the appropriate local authority. Let the people decide. We should do this within the drafting of general policy. In a sense we are turning out the lights in rural Ireland.'

Senator O'Toole said he had nothing to do with hunting but he had lived in a hunting area for the past 35 years.

'I do not hunt myself. In those 35 years of watching stag hunting or being aware of it happening in the vicinity, whatever number of hunts per year multiplied by 35 or 36 years, only two stags were ever put down. One was hit by a car and the other ran into a farmer's yard and he shot him. I do not think those elderly men on broad-backed horses ever get close enough to a stag to cause him any difficulty whatever. I do not agree with the concept of stress on the stag. I do not believe it is an issue of such importance to divide society.'

It is beyond contradiction that regardless of people's views about hunting or shooting, there would not be a pheasant in north Dublin or east Meath without the game associations, he said.