Northern Ireland

All-Ireland animal abuse register a 'devolved issue'

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Image caption Courts in Northern Ireland banned 45 people from keeping animals in 2018

The establishment of an animal abuse register is a "devolved issue", the secretary of state has said.

In July, the chief executive of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council wrote to the PM and the Republic of Ireland's agriculture minister calling for an all-Ireland register.

Forty-five people were banned from keeping animals in NI in 2018.

Animal welfare charities want details of those banned to be shared, making it harder for them to obtain new animals.

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Image caption In his letter, Julian Smith was replying on the behalf of the prime minister

USPCA Chief Executive Brendan Mullan said the current situation meant someone could be "banned one day and owning and abusing animals the next".

Julian Smith said he has brought it to the attention of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

In a letter to the council the secretary of state said: "This issue is devolved in Northern Ireland and therefore for the Northern Ireland Civil Service to consider in the absence of an Executive."

For its part, the Irish government issued a letter stating the matter will be brought to the attention of Michael Creed, the minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, "at the next practical juncture".

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council will consider the responses at a meeting on Monday night.

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