Judge Mary Larkin
FOUR men from North Cork who were caught hunting with dogs in a field outside Rathkeale were convicted and fined for hunting a wild animal without a licence.
The men, who appeared before Judge Mary Larkin at Newcastle West court, were also convicted of not having dog licences.
Inspector Alan Cullen told the court that at approximately 3.30pm on March 8 of last year, gardai were called to a scene outside the town of Rathkeale where they saw four men. The men didn't have permission from the landowner to be there, he explained, and while the gardai were en route the landowner observed two dogs chasing down a hare.
When the gardai arrived on the scene the four men started running away but they were caught. The men were given the opportunity to produce dog licences but failed to do so, the inspector explained.
Solicitor Michael O'Donnell appeared for all four men who had County Cork addresses: Patrick Cremin, 17 The Funshion, Rivervalley, Mallow; James O'Brien, Ballydineen Halting Site, Ballydineen, Doneraile; Richard O'Brien, Glenview, Doneraile and Patrick O'Brien, Ballydineen, Doneraile.
Pleading for his clients, Mr O'Donnell said, they were on their way to another location at the time but "came across a large extensive field".
"If they were involved in dogs, why didn't they have a dog licence?" Judge Mary Larkin asked. "Do they actually do coursing?"
"No, it is just messing around," Mr O'Donnell said. They were not trying to blood the dogs either, he explained but stressed his clients hadn't caused any difficulties for the gardai. "They won't be back. They are apologetic," he continued.
Judge Mary Larkin fined each of the men €250 for not having a dog licence and a fined them a further €250 for hunting a wild animal without a licence in breach of the Wildlife Act 1976 at Raheen, Croagh.