Firstly Minister Coveney thanks you for taking the time to write on the matter and he wishes to let you know that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine devotes considerable resources in protecting animal welfare and is continuing to work closely with An Garda Siochana, Local Authorities and animal welfare bodies throughout the country in an effort to minimise the risks to animals.
Minister Coveney also introduced new legislation, namely the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 which places a greater responsibility on those individuals and/or bodies to look after animals in their care and protect and safeguard their well being.
In December 2014, this Department announced funding of €1.8m to 142 organisations including PAWS, involved in animal care and welfare services throughout the country. The level of funding being provided to these organisations reflects the importance the Minister places on their work. The details of the organisations who received awards in 2014 can be accessed on the Departments website at www.agriculture.gov.ie/animalhealthwelfare/animalwelfaregundingtoanimalwelfareorgani sations
In addition to funding animal welfare bodies, this Department has a very active engagement with local authorities and An Garda Siochana on control of horses issues. DAFM refund local authorities for expenses incurred in operation of the Control of Horses Act, 1996. In 2014, this Department paid some € 2.25 m to the local authorities to assist them in their work in dealing with stray, abandoned and unwanted horses.
The matter of awarding local authority contracts referred to in your correspondence falls outside the remit of this Department and should be addressed directly to the relevant councils.
I would like to reassure you that this Department will continue to work to ensure that animal welfare is protected. The public are urged to continue to report cases of animal neglect and or abuse to the animal welfare helpline in operation by this Department firstname.lastname@example.org or on the helpline Lo call number 0761 064408.
Graham Lennox Private Secretary