Gormley hits out at pro-hunting lobby

Green Party leader John Gormley has accused a pro-hunting group of "frightening the living daylights out of rural Ireland".

Green Party leader John Gormley has accused a pro-hunting group of "frightening the living daylights out of rural Ireland".

The Environment Minister's comments follow the Government's controversial Wildlife Bill being passed through the Dáil last night.

The legislation outlaws stag hunting and had been strongly opposed by the group RISE! (Rural Ireland Says Enough!), which last week organised a protest outside Leinster House denouncing the Bill.

However Minister Gormley today accused the group of misleading the public.

"The RISE! campaign is actually very well-funded," Minister Gormley said.

"And the only way that they could deflect attention away from stag-hunting is by widening the debate and by putting out misleading statements - and frightening the living daylights out of people in rural Ireland.

"They have succeeded in doing that, unfortunately - they have succeeded in bullying people… particularly some of the backbenchers."

For its part, RISE! said it was disappointed with the result of last night's vote.

But spokesman Liam Cahill said the Ward Union Hunt is not necessarily dead.

"I'm disappointed, particularly for the members of the Ward Union Hunt club who now face enormous challenges about their future and where they go from here," Mr Cahill said.

"But they are a very resilient group of people and their committee will now sit down and look at all of the options available to them for the future."

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