Rise Rally Birr Game Fair

RISE Rally at the Irish Game and Country Fair,
Birr Castle on Sunday 26th August 2012

At 1.15 p.m. on Sunday 26th August, thousands of supporters of the rural lobby group RISE (Rural Ireland Says Enough!) held a monster protest at the Irish Game and Country Fair at Birr Castle, County Offaly.

Fine Gael, in a pre-general election pact with the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) gave a firm commitment to repeal John Gormley’s legislation which outlawed the Ward Union Hunt in return for electoral support from all hunting associations but since coming into office the Party has reneged on the deal. In the meantime, other issues which have given rise to further concerns have arisen, such as the administration of firearms licensing and animal welfare legislation.

RISE spokesperson, Des Crofton stated: “These are seen as the hallmark of a general attitude by Government towards rural Ireland, where sceptic tank charges, closure of Garda Stations and cessation of Hospital services are also giving rise to rural anti-government sentiment”.

Philip Donnelly, Chairman of the Hunting Association of Ireland stated that: “RISE is sick of broken promises and is appealing to all Government TD’s to support the reasonable requirements of its large rural support base”.

RISE is supported by:
National Association of Regional Game Councils NARGC
Irish Coursing Club ICC
Irish Masters of Fox Hounds Association IMFHA
Irish Deer Society IDS
Ward Union Hunt Club WUHC
Irish Masters of Mink Hounds Association IMMA
Irish Foot Harriers Association IFHA
Countryside Alliance Ireland CAI
Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers FISSTA
Irish Masters of Beagles Association IMBA
Irish Game Protection Association IGPA
Wild Deer Association of Ireland WDAI
Irish Masters of Harriers Association IMHA

Cork RISE Rally

Cork RISE Rally

Cork RISE Rally
Over six hundred attended the RISE rally last week in the Silver Springs conference centre./p>

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Re- Launch of RISE
The RISE campaign has returned to challenge government policy proposals that will have serious implications for fieldsports.
In particular regard to hunting with hounds the Animal Health & Welfare Bill – currently at amendment stage in the Seanad – needs urgent revising to take into account our concerns.
This Bill was in the Dept of Agriculture for a number of years and the Green Party had key input during that time.
It was rushed out at the end of March without any meaningful consultation to the HAI or FACE.
This means we are now playing catch-up and so it is vital we make an impact with elected politicians, and quickly.
The dangers concealed in this legislation will be revealed at a RISE public meeting in Cork on Thurs, 7th June at 8pm at the Silver Springs Hotel, with speakers on the night presenting on a number of threats ranging across foxhunting, harriers,shooting, fishing and working dogs.
Let’s get big numbers for this event, sending a clear message to politicians that we won’t be ignored any more.
The animal rights fanatics have been banging their anti-hunting message out by email, text and phone call for far too long.
It’s time the many thousands in field sports started making some noise.
Thanks for your help,
The RISE Committee

Concessions offered to the Greyhound Industry and Hunting Association

The following is the text of a document issued by the Government to their TDs by way of briefing them on changes made to the Dog Breeding legislation.  

Friday 9th July 2010

The Dog Breeding Establishment Bill will set out standards required for the welfare of all dogs while protecting our dog industry .This bill will help to enhance our international reputation amongst the dog industry and also prevent any puppy farms from neglecting their dogs. 

 The Department of Agriculture will amend the 1958 Greyhound Industry Act, to legislate for welfare provisions for members of the Irish Greyhound Board.  Once amended, the welfare of IGB registered greyhounds would be addressed through this amended 1958 Act.

 Minister John Gormley will delay the signing of the commencement order of the welfare sections of the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2009 until 1 January, 2011 to allow for the introduction of these amendments into the 1958 Greyhound Industry Act. 


 Increased powers to the inspectors of Bord na gCon who will hold joint inspections with Local Authority Inspectors.  

  • Continue tattooing as  the method of traceability
  • Veterinary Inspector approval for a fitness cert to allow a bitch to breed more than 3 litters in 3 years if deemed safe.
  • Register of Greyhounds to be put on a statutory basis.
  • IGB Registered trainers will be exempt from the fee for registration purposes. 
  • Review of legislation to include all aspects of dog industry.

Hunting Dogs 

  • Three month consultation with associations prior to regulations being introduced.
  • The regulations will be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the needs of specific groupings, that is hunt dogs, for whom it is recognised that communal sleeping facilities are most appropriate.
  • Exemption of fees for Hunting Dog kennels.
  • Continue tattooing as the method of traceability.
  • There will also be a requirement that such tattoos be registered on a database for traceability purposes.
  • Review of legislation to include all aspects of dog industry.  

In addition: 

  • The requirement that all dogs be microchipped has been increased from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. This excludes greyhound and hunting hounds. This amendment will introduced at Committee stage.
  • The Bill defines a dog breeding establishment as a premises at which are kept not less than 6 bitches each of which is more than 4 months old and capable of being used for breeding purposes. The minister has signalled that he is willing to change the 4 months to 6 months in response to calls in the Seanad.
  • This Bill provides a lead in time of up to 3 months, which the Minister has today proposed to extend to 6 months in response to calls in the Seanad.
  • The Minister also confirmed that the operation of the new Act will be reviewed after a year to assess its impact on the industry.
  • Dog Breeding Establishment fee is €400 for 6 – 18 bitches 

The worries of Hunting Associations have been addressed: 

Thursday 8th July 2010 

The Government is confident that the concerns of the hunt clubs (as defined in the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009) will be addressed as follows:

  • Addition of a subsection to Section 15 to provide for the identification of dogs in dog breeding establishments operated by hunt clubs by way of a tattoo as an alternative to micro chipping. Either tattooing or micro chipping is satisfactory.
  • Addition of subsection to Section 15 to specify that such tattoos and or micro chips must be registered on a data base maintained by the Hunting Association of Ireland or FACE.
  • During the consultation period on the regulations, the practical implementation of the traceability provisions will be discussed with the HAI and FACE with a view to minimising cost and inconvenience for older dogs in particular.
  • Should HAI /Face opt for a micro chip system it can train/instruct people in the application of this system.
  • The HAI/FACE may hold a central data base.
  • Hunt Clubs affiliated under the HAI and FACE Ireland will be exempt from all license fees in connection with the Dog Breeding Establishment Bill.
  • Legislation will commence no earlier than January 1st 2011 and there is a phasing in period of six months.
  • Section 3 of the bill is a standard provision of legislation. It is not possible for any Minister to introduce secondary legislation (i.e. regulations) that is contrary to primary legislation as it would be ultra vires. Consultation with the HAI will take place prior to any new regulations being introduced and the Minister is required to get the agreement of the House before any changes are made to the primary legislation.
  • Consultation with the HAI and FACE prior to introduction of regulations.
  • Review of legislation after one year to include hunting dog sector.
  • The independence of the inspection regime will be the onus of the local authority. Regulations will have to ensure the proper and transparent functioning of the dog warden service, and in particular guard against vexatious behaviour. Inspections will be held strictly on the basis of the legislation. In particular  section 14 :
  • (1) Dogs are adequately supplied with suitable food, drink and bedding material, (2) adequately exercised and (3) inspected at regular intervals and all reasonable measures are taken to prevent and control spread of disease.
  • It is agreed that during the period of consultation prior to regulations being introduced that the independence of the inspection regime will be discussed and guaranteed particularly where the dog warden service is contracted out, with a view to providing an ongoing consultative process between HAI/FACE and the local authorities to provide oversight of the objectivity of the inspection regime.
  • According to the Attorney General’s office there would be significant legal issues to ban Dog Wardens from being members of the ISCPA.
  • As outlined in the bill the dog warden can only report to the local authority, cannot initiate any action and must revert to the county Veterinary officer before any action is taken.
  • As outlined above the HAI and FACE specifically are to be consulted with as stakeholders prior to regulations being introduced and at the twelve month review.
  • Security worries are acknowledged and access to the register of hunt kennels would be limited in the amount of information provided to the general public .This specific issue will be discussed in detail with the HAI and FACE prior to regulation being introduced to protect those concerned as much as possible.
  • Although under the legislation all registered dog breeding establishments will be required to display a sign on their premises, the precise size and location of this sign will be subject to consultation during the process of developing the regulations.  Any regulations developed will not be excessively onerous. 
  • With the exception of the above points, hunt clubs would be subject to all of the remaining provisions of the Dog Establishment Bill 2009.
  • However the regulations made under the legislation will be sufficiently flexible to accommodate the needs of hunt dogs, for which it is recognised that communal facilities are considered most appropriate.
  • Finally, an attempt has been made in the House and elsewhere to suggest that this Bill somehow represents an attack on the rural way of life and is the thin end of the wedge in terms of the end of traditional field sports.  Let me be absolutely clear, this Bill is about dog welfare only .Other rural pursuits such as shooting and fishing are simply not affected by this Bill and there is no other proposal before this Government to impact on these rural sports.  

What has been the greyhound industry’s response?

The Irish Greyhound Board has welcomed the confirmation that greyhound breeding and welfare is to continue to be managed under the existing Greyhound Industry Act. 

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD is to introduce legislation in the autumn which will amend the Greyhound Industry and Dog Breeding Establishment Acts, and put welfare standards for greyhounds on a statutory basis. 

The Board are pleased that the very comprehensive guide to the care and welfare of greyhounds that exists in the Industry has been recognised, and that this will now be given statutory effect.

All Irish Greyhound Board registered Greyhound owners, breeders and trainers will be covered by the amended 1958 Act.

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Statement on behalf of the Ward Union Hunt Club in response to Government approval of the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010…31/03/210

The Ward Union Hunt Club notes that the Government has approved the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010. This is the Bill to give effect to the ban on this Hunt contained in the Renegotiated Programme for Government concluded last year by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.
According to media reports, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has cited two reasons for introducing the Bill.  Neither of them stands up to scrutiny.

Public safety: The Minister has focussed unduly on no more than two or three incidents that occurred out of more than 400 hunts conducted over the last ten years. At the same time, the Minister is taking no action to tackle the real public safety issue of motorists colliding with scores of deer on major thoroughfares each year, including the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

The Ward Union Hunt has implemented a wide range of health and safety measures in recent years and we are willing to see what further measures can be identified in discussions with the Minister’s Department, the Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority.   Banning the hunt in order to address concerns over public safety is an excessive and unfair response.

Animal welfare: Over recent years, each hunt conducted by the Ward Union has closely monitored by Government inspectors and their reports have not identified animal welfare issues. Veterinarians from the Department of Agriculture and Food conducted a major study of every deer hunted during the 1997/98 Seasons and reported that the health of the deer did not appear to be affected in either the short or the long term after hunting.

Government approval of the Bill is no more than a necessary step towards implementing the commitment in the Renegotiated Programme for Government. There is a long way to go yet and the Minister has many legislative and political hurdles to overcome before he might be in a position to enact the legislation.

We will be vigorously resisting this legislative proposal at every step.   We will consult with our professional advisers to see what avenues are open to us.

We welcome the statement by Fine Gael that they oppose the Bill and will – if it is enacted – repeal it if they are in Government. We call on other political parties to give a similar commitment. In particular, we believe that Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators should not allow themselves to be sleepwalked into supporting a Bill that is a first step towards destroying our rural pastimes.

We do not stand alone. The Ward Union Hunt is a driving force in the RISE! Rural Ireland Says Enough! campaign that was formed last January by the Hunting Association of Ireland and FACE Ireland to promote and defend all our traditional rural sports. The campaign is continuing to marshal considerable public and political support for its objectives. This is helping our cause enormously and we are confident that we will ultimately be successful.

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Meath well represented in major pro-hunting Demo in Waterford on Saturday, 27th March…22nd March 2010

Six horses and 5,000 people support hunting in Waterford today
27th March 2010

Not since the famous racehorse ‘The Wild Man from Borneo’ was brought along the Quays in Waterford to celebrate winning the Aintree Grand National in 1895 has a horse paraded along the city’s streets.

That changed today as three riders from the Woodstown Harriers (county Waterford) and three from the Ward Union Hunt (counties Meath and Dublin) led a march of 5,000 pro-hunting supporters to protest outside the Green Party convention.

Among the riders was Johnny Widger, whose ancestor, Tom Widger, bred the ‘Wild Man’. He was joined by Stephen Farrell and Eamon Kent from the Harriers and by Pat Coyle, Darren Campbell and Megan Carberry from the Ward Union.

The demonstration was organised by the RISE! Rural Ireland Says Enough! campaign. RISE was formed jointly last January by the Hunting Association of Ireland and FACE Ireland to promote and defend traditional rural sports from imminent Green legislative threats. Between them, the sixteen supporting organisations represent an estimated 300,000 enthusiasts of traditional rural field sports.

The marchers heard speeches from Jim Murphy (Cork), Gavin Duffy (Meath), Eddie Downey (Vice President, Irish Farmers’ Association) and Dónal Boyle (Tipperary). The MC on the platform was Tommie Hennessy, Master of the Déise Harriers in East Waterford. He told the marchers: ‘More than three centuries ago, a man named Oliver Cromwell came to this city and tried and failed to capture it. You might remember that he was the man who gave us the choice of ‘To Hell or to Connacht!’ Well, today this demo has a similar message to the Greens who have invaded our city. This time we are saying ‘To Hell with John Gormley!’ And to Hell with his Green Party pals and their anti-hunting hangers on!

We stand here today united, to promote and defend our traditional rural based pastimes, the pastimes that the people of our cities, towns, villages and farms have enjoyed for more than a thousand years. We are hunters on foot and on horseback. We are hunters with guns and with fishing rods. All of us are under threat from the Green Party fanatics. Today, the immediate threat of banning is to the Ward Union Hunt. Tomorrow, if they get away with that, it will be someone else will be their target. Until, eventually, no sport will be left for any of us.’

RISE! has called for amendments to the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, currently before the Seanad, to make it a truly anti-puppy farming piece of legislation. It is opposed to John Gormley’s proposal to ban the Ward Union Stag hunt and it is concerned about the implications for farmers and sports people of the proposed Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

Since its foundation, RISE! has been lobbying TD, Senators and Councillors in support of its aims. The campaign has received strong support from jockeys, trainers, and bookies because of the severe implications the proposed legislation will have on horse racing and greyhound racing. The campaign has also been raising a national petition to underline the widespread support for its aims.

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RISE! Campaign backs Ward Union Hunt

RISE! Rural Ireland Says Enough! supports the Ward Union Hunt in their efforts to resist the enactment of the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010, which was approved yesterday by the Government. This is the Bill to give effect to the ban on the Hunt contained in the Renegotiated Programme for Government concluded last year by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party.

RISE! brings together sixteen organisations representing 300,000 enthusiasts of traditional rural sports – hunting, coursing, shooting and angling. The campaign stands four square with the Ward Union Hunt.

The campaign is continuing to mobilise considerable public and political support for its objectives. We welcome the statement by Fine Gael that they oppose the Bill and will – if it is enacted – repeal it if they are in Government. We call on other political parties to give a similar commitment. In particular, we believe that Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators should not allow themselves to be sleepwalked into supporting a Bill that is a first step towards destroying our rural pastimes.

Posted in Latest News