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Anti-cruelty group calls for 'appalling' fox hunt blessings to end

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has said it is unacceptable that some priests “endorse cruelty” by blessing hunts.

Image: Alexey Stiop/

THE IRISH COUNCIL Against Blood Sports has called for a ban on priests blessing fox hunts.

Aideen Yourell, the Council’s PRO, said it is “appalling” that any member of the clergy would bless these type of events.

The call comes after a priest in Kilkenny, Fr Nicholas Flavin, was pictured blessing a fox hunt.

The photos were taken last November, but Yourell said that ICABS only became aware of them recently. The Council wrote to Fr Flavin about the images last week.

Yourell said it was “a contradiction in terms” that a priest would bless a hunt, adding that is it was wrong for “pillar of the community … to endorse cruelty”.

“He’s blessing cruelty to animals,” she commented.

Fox hunting is banned in England, Scotland and Wales. It’s cruel, there’s no two ways about it … foxes are caught and torn apart. It’s outrageous and barbaric in this day and age.

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‘You can’t pick and choose morality’

Fr Flavin said he would not “enter into a discussion” with the ICABS unless the organisation could prove its members “observe all the moral teachings of the church”.

Do they observe all the moral teachings? Every single one. You can’t pick and choose morality … If they protest about groups that fail to observe all moral teachings of the church, then I’ll enter into a discussion. I’ll not discuss this otherwise.

Yourell said Fr Flavin’s response was “utterly bizarre” and contrary to a 2005 statement by the Irish Bishops Conference which said the body “does not condone the practice of priests blessing foxhunts”.

Read: Animal rights groups condemn ‘brutal attack’ on fox in Laois

Read: Foxhounds killed after being hit by Iarnród Éireann train

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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