Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Minister rules out backing hunting

Culture, Arts and Leisure minister Caral Ni Chuilin said she personally did not support hunting or recognise it as a sport

A Stormont minister has ruled out providing financial backing to the hunting community after being urged to reconsider her department's position on so-called country sports.

Culture, Arts and Leisure minister Caral Ni Chuilin told the Assembly she personally did not support hunting or recognise it as a sport.

The Sinn Fein representative said her position was also backed by the official departmental definition of sports.

She said activities traditionally termed "country sports" - such as hunting, including that on horseback, and the shooting of live quarry - were not supported by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

But the minister said other forms of shooting, such as clay pigeon, equestrian pursuits and angling were covered by her department and had been provided more than £800,000 in support in the last three years.

During Assembly question time, the DUP's Lord Morrow had urged the minister to reconsider the definition of country sports.

"I wonder would she give some thought to looking again at the definition of country sports and is she aware that shooting on its own generates some 2,100 full time jobs and it also generates some £45 million per year?" said the Fermanagh and South Tyrone member.

"I think that merits some consideration and I would ask the minister to take a look at this again because I think it is one of those areas that has been neglected and is being neglected."

The minister said she would look again at activities that did not include hunting.

"Just to be clear on this, I don't support hunting, I don't recognise it as a sport, but I will certainly have a look at anything else in between," she said.

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