Page last updated at 19:20 GMT, Monday, 7 February 2011

Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill

Green party MLA Brian Wilson said the further consideration stage should not have been used to discuss an already agreed ban on hare coursing, on 7 February 2011.

Mr Wilson said the vote to ban hare coursing at the consideration stage of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill had been "historic".

Before the debate, the DUP's Jim Wells questioned the necessity of discussing the amendment brought by Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy to allow two "regulated" hare coursing events to be maintained in Northern Ireland.

Mr Molloy told the assembly that coursing benefited rural communities.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots said the proposed amendment would be a "fundamental reversal on what had already been agreed".

The amendment fell on an oral vote.

Three groups of amendments were debated during the further consideration stage.

Patsy McGlone, deputy chairperson of the environment committee also said he was concerned that biodiversity officers had not been consulted on significant proposed changes to the duty by Mr Poots.

This amendment and another proposed by the Alliance party to make the Irish hare a protected species both also fell.

Watch the second part of the debate here


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