Tensions are rising in a Cork town over the planned closure of the community park for December to allow hare coursing to take place there instead.
A protest is being planned in Millstreet to highlight the Town Park’s closure to the public from December 6 to January 1 to allow hare coursing, which some residents say is unfair.
Last year, the park did not close for December as it usually does, which allowed many local residents to enjoy the amenity over Christmas for the first time.
Millstreet Town Park is a community-run resource, and a local committee oversees it. Local sources suggest the park rules have provided for it to close to the public to permit hare coursing since the 1950s or 60s.
But local resident Siobhán Bourke said that times have changed, and Millstreet needs to move forward into this new era. She said that the park is the only place many people can go to exercise safely and it has become a lifeline to many throughout the pandemic.
“Our beautiful park that is used daily by everyone will be shut, apart from the children's playground," she said.
"This is a massive blow for our elderly citizens.
“And there are people with no back yards. The park is their yard, and now that’s gone for Christmas. Kids can’t go and play football there over the holidays.
"Last year, everyone had the most wonderful Christmas in the park. It’s not fair that these few people are dictating what happens in our park."
She said that every year, hares are captured in the wild and brought to Town Park.
It is understood that the coursing club met yesterday evening, and a statement is expected to be issued later today.