David Ford, Alliance Leader, has welcomed the decision of the Environment Minister to introduce a one year ban on the killing or taking of Irish hares.
David Ford said:
“To date, Angela Smith has taken action to prevent the taking of hares for coursing. She has done this under legislation passed by the Assembly decision to increase protection for hares while the species is at risk.
“It is clear that the Irish Hare continues to exist at very low numbers in Northern Ireland. A total ban for a year is entirely justified under the Game Preservation Act and the Minister would have been failing in her duty if she had not introduced such a ban.
“The Department has a responsibility to promote the Species Action Plan for the Irish Hare, but little has been done so far. It seems that we now have a Minister who is taking her duties seriously.
“A complete revision of the 1985 Wildlife Order is an urgent priority. I have no doubt that this will show that the protection status of the Irish
Hare must be enhanced if we are to avoid its total extinction in Northern Ireland.”