Agriculture/Animal Welfare, Animal Welfare, Dáil Issues, Oral Questions

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if is satisfied that the number of National Parks and Wildlife Service officers is sufficient to protect our wildlife.
– Clare Daly.
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 11th March, 2015.

Ref No: 10014/15 Lottery: 16 Proof: 16

R E P L Y

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Ms. Heather Humphreys, T.D.):
My Department directly employs some 565 staff, who operate across a broad range of functions within my Department’s programme areas – Arts, Culture and Film; Heritage; Irish Language, Gaeltacht and Islands; and North/South Co-operation. As the Deputy will appreciate, the staff of my Department are allocated to these functional areas on the basis of need, having regard to a number of factors, including overall resource availability. The majority of administrative staff are based in departmental offices in Dublin, Killarney, Na Forbacha, Co Galway, and Wexford, with regional and field staff (mainly at professional, technical and industrial grades) dispersed across the country.

Of the total Departmental staff, 283 work in the area of natural heritage through the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) of my Department. In addition, approximately 50 further seasonal staff are engaged during the year to assist the NPWS with its activities. The staffing requirements in this area, as with all other areas of my Department, is the subject of ongoing consideration in light of the overall business needs and within the pay framework approved for 2015. Within this context, I am satisfied that the NPWS continues to fulfil a comprehensive and valuable role in the conservation and protection of our natural heritage and delivers an excellent service to the public.

DAIL QUESTION
NO.9

To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of representations that she has received objecting to the granting of licences to coursing clubs; and if she will meet some of the groups who have concerns regarding this practice..
– Clare Daly.
For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 11th March, 2015.

Ref No: 10013/15 Lottery: 5 Proof: 5

R E P L Y
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Ms. Heather Humphreys, T.D.):
The control of live hare coursing, including the operation of individual coursing meetings, is carried out under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958, which is the responsibility of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Hare coursing is administered by the Irish Coursing Club, which is a body set up under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958.

Licences were issued by my Department in August 2014 under the Wildlife Acts to the Irish Coursing Club, on behalf of their affiliated clubs, to facilitate the tagging and capturing of hares for the purpose of hare coursing for the 2014/15 coursing season.

I have received numerous representations in the last few months requesting me to revoke the licences issued to the Irish Coursing Club and asking me not to issue any further licences to the Club. I understand that the majority of these representations have been prompted by an online campaign organised by an anti-blood sports organisation urging people to make such representations to the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste, the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine and myself. I have not received any requests for meetings on foot of these recent representations.