Up to 5,000 people attended a pro-hunting demonstration at the Green Party’s conference in Waterford today.
Organisers from the Rural Ireland Says Enough (RISE) campaign claimed the Government was discriminating against country sports and warned it risked losing country seats in the next elections.
A spokesman said: “The Green Party have got their priorities totally wrong during a time of economic and unemployment crisis. Those are the priorities they should be focusing on and not something like hunting.”
The demonstration was led by three riders from Waterford and three from the Ward Union Hunt in Meath and Dublin, which they claimed Green Party Environment Minister John Gormley wants to ban.
The spokesman said the Government would also be targeting gun clubs.
“Fianna Fáil TDs need to realise what is being done in their name is a major attack on the lifestyle of the ordinary people in the countryside. They are trying to pick off our traditional sports one after another,” he added.
There were groups from across Ireland in Waterford today championing deer, stag, hare and fox hunting. Some waved banners proclaiming “John Gormless” and shouting similar taunts.
RISE claims to represent 300,000 rural field sports enthusiasts. It has been calling for amendments to the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, opposes Minister Gormley’s plan to ban the Ward Union Stag hunt and is concerned about the implications for farmers and sportsmen of the proposed Animal Health and Welfare Bill.