Stop allowing cruel foxhunting on your land

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Irish Army invited foxhunters to Curragh for bloodsport and light refreshments

In January, we reported on the Irish Army's shameful hosting of a foxhunting meet at its Curragh headquarters in County Kildare. At the time, we were told by an army representative that the hunt's presence at the Curragh would have been as a result of the hunt applying for permission to come on to army property. It has emerged, however, that it was the Irish Army which actually invited the hunters in. Documents obtained by the Irish Council Against Blood Sports show that a Captain Johnny Dicker emailed the Defence Forces Property Management seeking permission for a "lawn meet for Kildare Foxhounds to be hosted by GOC, DFTC [General Officer Commanding, Defence Forces Training Centre]". The email dated 12th October 2015 states: "Previously I have spoken to GOC DFTC in relation to hosting a lawn meet for the Kildare Hunt Club. At the recent coffee afternoon for equine stakeholders, the GOC said he would be in favour of hosting this event. This event has taken place for many decades now. The DFTC has a long relationship with the 'Kildares' and their link to Punchestown." Captain Dicker goes on to suggest an itinerary for the hunt's visit: "Having spoken to the 'Kildares' and the GOC, I would like to propose this event takes place on Monday 23 November 2015. I would like to suggest the following timetable, subject to approval: 10.15 MPs Mess open for light refreshments 10.30 Main body of 'Kildares' begin arriving 11.15 Hunt club mount-up 11.20 Photo shoot of GOC, Huntsman, Hounds and Horses 11.30 Hunt club move off to Cut Bush area 15.00 Ceannt Officers Mess or MPs Mess open for refreshments (This is subject to weather and location where hunt finishes up)" Captain Dickers attaches the hunt's insurance policy to his email, saying "in previous years, this has been required by DFTC HQ for onward passage to Executive Branch, DFTC." Responding to the request, a Sheila Slevin states "Hi Johnny. The Department approves this request" The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is outraged that not only did the Irish Army host a foxhunt meet at their Curragh Camp HQ but they initiated the invitation. According to a report in the Irish Field, a number of Army officers took part in the barbarism and officers in army fatigues were pictured with the foxhunters. See the photograph at The report outlined that “the Irish Army were out in force for the Kildare Foxhounds meet at the Curragh Camp,” and that personnel were involved in the organising of the hunt. Given that foxhunting was very much a British tradition, Eamonn Ceannt, one of the signatories of the 1916 Rising, would no doubt have been turning in his at grave at the sight of horse-boxes arriving in Ceannt Square at the Curragh Camp, and the foxhunters indulging in finger food and refreshments at the officers’ mess. Ironically, Britain has over a decade ago outlawed foxhunting, leaving Ireland as the last outpost of barbarism in these islands. The Irish Field report went on to detail how foxes were pursued by hounds and “marked to ground” which indicates that they would have sought refuge underground. We can only speculate as to what happened these foxes after this, but generally terriermen, who are an integral part of the hunt, arrive with spades and terriers to dig down to the fox, using the terriers to flush it out, resulting in underground battles with fox and terrier, and the ultimate death of the fox. As we commemorate 1916, it is an absolute disgrace that the Irish Army would be involved in such a barbaric bloodsport. One hundred years after they laid down their lives for our country, the Irish Army taking part in a foxhunt is hardly what our 1916 patriots would have envisaged. In a 1967 letter to founder member of the Irish Council Against Blood Sports, actor John Cowley (aka Tom Riordan of ‘The Riordans’), Senator Margaret Pearse – sister of Padraic Pearse – wrote from her nursing home, aged 89, that both of her brothers, Padraic and Willie, would have been opposed to animal cruelty. Senator Pearse stated: “all bloodsports are repugnant to me and I think that they have a debasing effect on all those who take part in them”. Out of respect for the martyrs and patriots of 1916, and for the vast majority of Irish people who oppose cruel bloodsports, we renew our call to the Irish Army to cease their involvement in this barbaric activity. ACTION ALERT Sign and share our petition Irish Army: Stop allowing cruel foxhunting on your land Call on the Irish Army to stop participating in foxhunting and stop inviting foxhunters on to its property. Send a copy of your message to Taoiseach Enda Kenny (Minister for Defence). Defence Forces Headquarters Ceannt Barracks, Curragh Camp, Co Kildare Tel: 045 44 5306 Email:, Leave a comment on Facebook Tweet to @defenceforces An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny Minister for Defence Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2 Telephone: 01-6194020 Email: Tweet to: @EndaKennyTD

Irish Council Against Blood Sports
5 years ago