HL Deb 03 August 1897 vol 52 cc169-70

asked Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the poaching and trespass in pursuit of game which prevailed in Ireland, and which, there was reason to know, was encouraged by an insufficient application of the Excise laws relating to game certificates, gun licences, and to dealing in game without the necessary licences, they would take such steps as might secure stricter attention on the part of the Excise authorities and officers enforcing these laws. He said that in consequence of the excessive poaching which had been going on in Ireland, and in consequence of the Excise authorities not having looked after the game licences as carefully as they should do, preservers of game had been obliged to protect themselves by the establishment of the Irish Game Protection Association, which had now been in existence for some years. Since it had been established, the game licences taken out had become much more numerous. He hoped that more care would be taken to see that people who shot game were in possession of the £3 licence. At present it often happened in the large towns of Ireland that a man would take out a licence, and, as no initials were inserted before the name, the licence was used, not only by the man who took it out, but by his brothers or others of the same name.


, replying on behalf of the Lord Privy Seal, said that every effort was made by the Excise authority to enforce the law as far as possible in the same way as in Great Britain, but, owing to the fact that there was no establishment for licences in Ireland, the staff of officers available for the purpose was not large, and as each officer had consequently to cover a wider area, protection was more difficult. The aid of the Constabulary was called to the assistance of the Excise officers, and the number of detections made in 1895 and 1896 were considerable. In 1895, 994 persons were prosecuted under the Game Laws in Ireland, and of these 716 were convicted. In 1896, 560 persons were charged with the offence of poaching. The Board of Inland Revenue ordered prosecutions in all cases where the evidence was sufficient to support proceedings; and any representation made by the noble Lord with a view to stopping the evil of poaching would receive every attention from the Board.