THE ban on coursing and point to point meetings during Level 5 has been described by some councillors as an attack on the rural way of life, with one West Cork councillor describing it as ‘going way overboard.’
At last week’s online meeting of Cork County Council, councillors were responding to correspondence from the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine after they raised the issue in the chamber late last year.
Deputy Mayor Cllr Joe Carroll (FF) said he was not happy with the reply and said that as councillors they have a duty to look after their rural constituents.
‘Coursing and point to points are a big part of Cork county and they have gone way overboard here and it’s an attack on rural Iife and I think we have to be strong and not accept it,’ said Cllr Carroll.
‘There are people who are suffering a big loss with horses and dogs and it can’t be sustained.’
His North Cork colleague, Cllr Frank O’Flynn said he wasn’t happy with the reply from the Department either and said it was misleading.
‘You are out in the fresh open air and these events are well organised and there are no problems. The biggest losers here are the trainers, the owners and the jockey,’ said Cllr O’Flynn.
Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) said it is wrong that point to points are closed down and said they are run ‘100% safe’.
‘To remove coursing as an elite sport was wrong. It is a rural pastime and it is part of our heritage and it has to be protected,’ said Cllr Hayes.
Cllr Michael Creed (FG) noted that the reply was now outdated as it had said coursing had resumed and he asked if they could get further and an updated clarification from the Department.
Cllr William O’Leary (FF) said he believed that Covid has suited some people well who have an agenda against coursing and point to points and were benefitting from the ongoing pandemic and subsequent restrictions and he said livelihoods are at stake here.
Councillors agreed that they would write back to the Department to seek further clarification on this matter.