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Death of courageous politician who campaigned against hare coursing cruelty

category international | animal rights | opinion/analysis author Sunday November 23, 2014 01:40author by Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports Report this post to the editors

The recent death of ex-senator and architect, Jack Fitzsimons of Kells, County Meath, has been keenly felt by his family and by the many people who knew him in his former professions. Readers of his best-selling book, Bungalow Bliss, will remember him too for his professional and easy to follow advice on affordable house designs.

Jack Fitzsimons
Jack Fitzsimons

But those of us concerned about the protection of Ireland’s wildlife heritage will cherish his commitment to the campaign to outlaw the cruel practice of live hare coursing. Following two terms as a senator, Jack stood in the local elections on an anti-blood sports ticket, seeking a mandate for his view that hare coursing should be banned.

He was elected to Meath County Council on that platform and worked tirelessly to highlight the plight of the gentle and inoffensive creatures that are snatched from our countryside to serve as live bait.

He organized a march from his native Kells to Dublin, where he spoke to a large gathering outside the Dail about the need to protect the Irish Hare, stressing its unique place in our culture and ecology, and its status as a living link to the last Ice Age.

He backed Tony Gregory’s attempt in 1993 to tackle hare coursing via a Private Members Bill. Though the measure was voted down, it shamed coursing clubs into muzzling greyhounds, a de facto recognition on their part that hares were suffering in their “sport.”

In 1994 Jack published a book with the ironic title of Coursing Ban be Damned, in which he made a powerful case against hare coursing, citing both conservationist data and scientific studies that proved hares suffer immense distress and trauma as a result of being coursed by hyped-up dogs, even when they manage to avoid outright physical injury. He also touched upon the deep divisions that the anti hare coursing campaign had created among politicians and how the lavishly financed pro-hunting lobby had succeeded in distorting the political process in favour of blood sports.

Jack ran as an independent protest candidate in the 1994 European Parliament election, prioritizing his opposition to “hare coursing and fox hunting.”

Though he did not live to see his beloved Irish Hare safeguarded from recreational cruelty, Jack Fitzsimons helped through his writings and political campaigning to prepare the way for future legislation on the issue.

There are those who will decry his emphasis on the hare’s sad plight, but none will deny that he was an honest and brave politician, who did what he believed to be RIGHT, as distinct from what was politically expedient.

- Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports

author by Anti bloodsportspublication date Sun Nov 23, 2014 01:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I hope more of our present crop of TDs and senators take up this cause. Hare coursing is a stain on everything Irish...


Fans clap for THIS:
Fans clap for THIS:

captive hare prior to coursing
captive hare prior to coursing

Coursing clubs say they love hares and conserve them...
Coursing clubs say they love hares and conserve them...

Clare TD with campaigners outside Dail Eireann (Irish parliament)
Clare TD with campaigners outside Dail Eireann (Irish parliament)

Related Link: http://www.banbloodsports.com
author by ramblerpublication date Fri Nov 28, 2014 17:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

His contribution to saving the Irish countryside from planning authorities was indeed an immense one . Although he was a long-standing member of Fianna Fail , anyone who knew Jack personally knew that in spirit he was always a true anarchist .Maligned by lovers of red tape and bureaucracy , sneered at by cultured people, the fact that his bungalow designs got taken up with such unbridled enthusiasm by the people themselves was bound to cause resentment - and it must be said no small measure of jealousy in some architectural circles .

Throughout the seventies and eighties , Jack Fitzimmons' bright modern bungalow designs came to symbolize escape from Ireland's rural poverty and domestic drudgery . Many examples of his visionary designs still charm the countryside today. In my opinion, it wasn't until the early years of this century that the importance of Jack's pioneering work was recognized and taken up by the generation of young architects that helped shape the Celtic Tiger years.

author by ramblerpublication date Fri Nov 28, 2014 21:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

An aerial view here of some of the modernised vernacular dwellings that Jack's vison helped inspire .The invasive pre-utility walls that can be clearly seen in the photo were doubtlessly retained at the insistence of the red-tape bureaucracy brigade on the grounds of "conservation"!

" It reflects the intuitive understanding that democracy is largely a sham when the industrial system is controlled by any form of autocratic elite, whether of owners, managers, and technocrats, a ''vanguard'' party, or a State bureaucracy.
(Noam Chomsky)


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