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 Trim Castle H.A.I / Ward Union Rally

WARD UNION HUNT - County Meath, Ireland

Almost two thousand members and supporters of the Ward Union Hunt held a “monster rally” last week in opposition to plans to ban stag hunting.

The hunt, which operates in Co Meath and north Co Dublin, is furious at the ban proposed by Minister for the Environment John Gormley. They have accused him of vindictively singling them out as they are the only licensed stag hunt in the country.
National Hunt jockey Paul Carberry, who is a Ward Union member, wrote an open letter to Taoiseach Brian Cowen last week warning him that Fianna Fail TDs would pay the price at the next election if the ban was implemented.

Chairman for the night was incoming WU chairman, Christy Reynolds who introduced the various speakers. Keynote speakers were Francis Lally a dairy farmer from Kilmessan and keen Ward follower. Matt Dempsey Managing editor of the Irish Farmers Journal, followed. .Matt spoke of the damage being done to rural Ireland and farming in particular by well meaning but poorly judged measures imposed as part of Green policy. For instance the practice winter ploughing which was always looked on as essential for spring cereal production has now been banned and slurry spreading restricted to certain calendar dates regardless of ground conditions
Gavin Duffy of “Dragons Den” was next. Gavin who is one of the founders of HAI and pro hunting strategist is a well know businessman and star of “Dragons’ Den” Gavin who gave one of his usual rousing speeches accused Mr. Gormley of “having a death wish” towards the hunt. “For people who live in rural Ireland . . . we cannot understand how the one hunt that does not kill its quarry – the purpose of the stag hunt is not to kill the stag – is being targeted in this way.” He went on to accuse Fianna Fail to have surrendered to Green pressure in order to cling to power.

A commitment to ban stag hunting was included in the revised programme for Government agreed between the Green Party and Fianna Fail earlier this year. A spokesman for Mr. Gormley said yesterday that heads of the Bill were already agreed by Government and detailed legislation was being prepared. This bill could be before the Dail as early as mid January.
Gavin went on to say that the Ward Union had support from across the hunting community and the proposed ban was causing alarm among those involved in wider country pursuits such as “hunting, shooting and fishing”. He finished by calling on a mass rally early in the new year with a march on Leinster House
Both Meath FG TD’s were present ,Shane McEntee and Damien English who promised unqualified support for Ward Union and hunting in general from any in-coming government led by Fine Gael. Invited but missing on the night was local TD and minister, Noel Dempsey . FF was represented by no less than three TD’s and one councilor (Nick Kileen) who was representing Mary Wallace TD . FF TD’s Ml Kennedy, Darragh O’Brien and Thomas Byrne assured the meeting of their personal support but would not be drawn on whether they would oppose the motion in the Dail,

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