Irish Hare

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — The Environment – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:30 pm on 2nd April 2001.

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Photo of Mr Sam Foster Mr Sam Foster UUP 3:30 pm, 2nd April 2001

My Department has powers under the Game Laws (Amendment) Act 1951 to issue permits to capture hares from the wild for hare coursing. Recent legal advice has confirmed that the Department might be acting unlawfully if it were to adopt a blanket policy of not granting these permits. The repeat survey and assessment of other protection measures will create an opportunity to re-examine this matter.

In the meantime, I recognise that issuing permits to take hares for coursing is often perceived to be inconsistent with the action plan. Therefore, although this other work is under way, I will ask officials to re-examine the evidence to determine the impact of netting hares on that animal’s conservation status.