Republic of Ireland moves to level 3 restrictions
Hunting can restart in line with the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Associations guidance.
Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI) is once again delighted to be the biggest all Ireland country sports organisation in attendance at the Galway Game Fair Clay Shoot at the Irish Country Lifestyle Festival. The event which takes place on Saturday 15 & Sunday 16 June 2019.
We are very excited to announce that RADAR NI (Risk Avoidance Danger Awareness Resource) will be on our stand; RADAR is Northern Ireland’s first and only interactive safety and life skills education Centre. RADAR brings safety and life skills education for children and vulnerable people crashing into the 21st century, offering a high standard of preventative training that has the capability to save lives.
Our marquee will also be playing host to other exhibitors including the British Deer Society (NI), PAW, PSNI FEB, PSNI Wildlife liaison and the ever popular Sunnylands Beagles which always prove popular with everyone young and old.
Since 1978 the Great Game Fairs of Ireland objectives included promoting the importance of country sports, farming and conservation interests working together for the preservation of the Irish countryside and the rural way of life.
Over the past forty year on that objective, if anything more relevant, as the whole rural way of life if not threatened with government legislation or interference with tradition, is threatened with habitat destruction. There is the need for a strong unified voice to promote balance within the countryside amongst land users such as farming, building, country sports, conservation and tourism interests.
Clay Shooting at the Game Fair
COUNTRY SPORTS SHOOT OR GUNDOG CLUB OF THE YEAR
IRELAND’S MOST STYLISH GUNDOG EVENT!
organised by Gundog Rescue and Rehoming at the Great Game Fairs of Ireland at the Irish Country Lifestyle Festival, Galway Racecourse 15/16 June and the Irish Game Fair, Shanes Castle, Antrim 29/30 June.
This is an event designed to let country sports enthusiasts show off their style and their dog and give the public a little cameo of a shooting day and a chance to see well turned out sports people and a good range of gundogs.
Based on a three person shoot, estate or club team dressed in country or club clothing with at least three well behaved gundogs one of which must carry out a simple gundog task – a retrieve, a demonstration of quartering or even pointing/setting. Teams will be judged on the smartness of the handlers’ dress, the turnout of the dogs and the competence of one dog at a gundog test.
There will be heats at Galway and Shanes and the final will also take place at Shanes Castle.
The members of each winning team in the heats will win a Crystal Clock, a year’s subscription to Irish Country Sports and Country Life magazine and a quality tweed dog bed from https://thesheepishdog.com/
The overall winners will be presented with the ‘Shoot of the Year Perpetual Trophy’. Other ‘spot prizes will be announced later.
Entry Fee will be £30 per team going to GR&RH with each team member getting two FREE tickets to the relevant fair
We are very much looking forward to the Fair as it gives us the opportunity to meet and engage face to face with our members and supporters. The Fair offers something for all of the family and we are delighted to have a significant presence and look forward to seeing you there.
MEDIAWATCH: Countryside Alliance animal welfare consultant, Jim Barrington, will be on Michael Portillo’s show “Portillo’s State Secrets” from 6.30pm on BBC2 this evening, 1st April. Jim will be talking about animal welfare and hunting and reports that he thoroughly enjoyed filming with Portillo.
Following the full public consultation earlier this year for taking pest birds brought about by the legal challenge from Wild Justice. DEARA have now taken the decision to extend the interim General Licenses until October 2022
This decision to extend the current temporary General License CAI understand is to allow time for the responses of the public consultation to be fully considered and allow for any additional information or legal advice to be sought before briefs are submitted to the Minister for consideration.
Please remember you can still apply for an individual license to take pest species not listed on the General Licenses from the Wildlife Team Here
The Countryside Alliance Ireland is concerned about the impact of excess rubbish generated as strike action at Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Brough Council continues. This will have adverse effects on rural areas, which are likely to fall victim to fly-tippers as households have no means to dispose of their rubbish.
The rural campaigning group are asking the public to remember that fly-tipping is not a victimless crime and has a significant impact on rural areas and wildlife.
If you are having a clear out, please:
Keep your waste at home until you are able to dispose of it legally; or
Use a registered waste carrier; and
Remember, you can be prosecuted for fly-tipping.
With the abundance of rubbish starting to gather we are already hearing reports of rats openly rummaging through bins in Lurgan as public bins have not been emptied for some days. As in the towns fly tipping in the countryside could lead to an increased numbers of vermin.
CAI advise the public to check with other Local authorities if they will permit those from ABC brough council to use their recycling centres.
Gary McCartney, Director of Countryside Alliance Ireland said: “It shouldn’t need saying that driving to dump rubbish at the side of the road or in the countryside will damage rural communities and wildlife. We must also mention are you committing an offence by littering and may face prosecution from the PSNI. The images of fly-tipping, though horrendous, are an all too familiar sight. Please, plan out any household activity that could generate excess amounts of rubbish.
“With no near end to the strike in sight, other local authorities should assess the feasibility of opening recycling centres to help residents to stop infestations of vermin and spread of disease. This approach does seem like the most obvious answer to stopping fly-tipping or a public health disaster, We also can’t risk people filling up a car with rubbish and being turned away only for it to then be dumped elsewhere, illegally because centres refuse those from outside their council area.
He added: “If you need to hire a private refuse collection service, please ensure they are a registered waste collector first. We are fully aware that rogue operators profit from charging cheap fees, who then dump the rubbish in the countryside. They often advertise on social media and offer deals that some find tempting. In reality, this comes at a massive cost to both the environment and tax-payer, while farmers have to pay even more to have the rubbish on their land removed privately. There can never be an excuse for fly-tipping, please help us stop it”.
The cost of rural crime has continued to decrease in Northern Ireland following a sharp drop at the beginning of the pandemic.
The 2022 Rural Crime Report revealed rural theft cost Northern Ireland an estimated £1.7m in 2021, down from £2.1m in 2021. The Northern Ireland reduction is greater than the UK average drop of 9.3% in 2021 and signs so far this year look like Northern Ireland is curbing countryside crime.
We must not become complacent and reports from across the water suggest the first quarter of 2022 has seen thieves in England, Scotland and Wales making up for time lost over the pandemic, but in Northern Ireland the reduction in rural theft continued.
However, shipping delays and the effects of Covid and Brexit have contributed to low supply and a rise in demand for quad bikes and other machinery. Knowing that thieves were keen to capitalise on growing waiting lists and soaring market values, Countryside Alliance Ireland would encourage in rural communities to take part in the various security marking schemes across Northern Ireland to reduce the risk of theft.
Countryside Alliance Ireland Director Gary McCartney said: “It is encouraging to see that the cost of rural crime continues to fall across Northern Ireland, however, farms and rural communities are still being targeted. Rural crime is not a victimless crime causing emotional and financial stress to those involved especially at this difficult time as they face unprecedent challenges.”
“We remind rural communities to remain vigilant as we move into the colder, darker nights of Autumn and as the cost of living crisis really starts to bite, we call on those who live in the countryside to ensure possessions are locked away, out of sight, especially those of high value. Take photos of any valuable items and record any details including serial numbers or any identifying features and report any suspicious activity in your area to the PSNI.”
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has declared a “critical incident” due to protracted backlogs of applications within its firearms licensing department. A critical incident is defined as “Any incident where the effectiveness of the police response is likely to have a significant impact on the confidence of the victim, their family or the community”.
The announcement was made during a recent meeting between PSNI Chief Superintendent Sam Donaldson, Dr Jonathan Howarth, Head of PSNI Firearms and Explosives Branch (FEB) and members of the Northern Ireland Firearms Representative Group (NIFRG).
Formed in May 2021, the NIFRG is an umbrella group which brings together all the national and local shooting and countryside organisations.
The meeting took place at PSNI Headquarters in Belfast, during which the PSNI advised that the backlog was sitting at roughly 3,000 applications and rising.
The influencing factors for the backlog given by PSNI, include a lack of resources and a requirement for IT system upgrades. As a result, the PSNI has introduced a Gold Command strategy to deal with the situation.
Speaking after the meeting, an NIFRG spokesperson said:
“The NIFRG took the opportunity to convey our deep dissatisfaction with the current situation within firearms licensing and we committed to work with PSNI to effect immediate and sustained improvements in performance.
“The introduction of a Gold Command strategy is good news, as it means the crisis has been highlighted at Chief Constable level, and that a strategy has been introduced to resolve the situation.
“Processing timescales of up to a year are wholly unacceptable. However, this meeting offered a glimmer of hope, in what is a desperate situation. The current crisis not only reflects badly on PSNI FEB, but in the wider context, it has also damaged public confidence in the police service generally.
“This direct Intervention by PSNI is a much-needed move and the NIFRG will be assisting FEB with a review of its current processes in a bid to make them more efficient. We will also be providing feedback to PSNI on its new complaints procedure which will help monitor performance and ensure the accountability of FEB staff.”
FIREARMS USERS REPRESENTATIVE GROUP (FURG) OPPOSE STRUCTURE AND MAKE-UP OF NEW FIREARMS EXPERT COMMITTEE
FURG Member Organisations consist of: National Association of Regional Game Councils, FACE Ireland (representing 14 fieldsports organisations), Irish Deer Society, Irish Deer Commission, Wild Deer Association of Ireland, Deer Alliance HCAP, Countryside Alliance (Ireland), Country Sports Ireland, Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland, Irish Firearms Dealers Association, Irish Clay Target Shooting Association, National Association of Sporting Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Irish Country Sports Association, Precision Rifles Ireland. Have come together to oppose the structure and make up of new Firearms Expert Committee announced by the Department of Justice on behalf of Minister James Brown TD.
The establishment of a five-person “Firearms Expert Committee” was announced by the Department of Justice on 24th June 2022 on behalf of James Browne TD, Minister of State at the Department of Justice.
The establishment of such a body was first proposed in media interviews by Minister Browne in September 2021 and confirmed in the document, Justice Plan 2022, published in March 2022 (paragraph 35, page 15 of that document).
The terms of reference for the Committee were later stated as:
- To carry out an assessment of all types of firearms which are currently licenced in the State
- To determine their use under the existing licensing system.
- To make recommendations based on this assessment on which types of firearms should be licensable in the State and for what purposes.
- To consider whether firearms certificates should be conditioned to specify the locations where the firearm may be used.
- To consider whether firearms certificates should be conditioned to limit the use of the firearm to the purpose for which the firearms certificate was sought.
- To consider whether there should be a limit on the number and type of firearms a person may hold.
- To make recommendation on other matters that might be examined in the future.
- To provide a report or reports containing recommendations on these matters to the Minister.
- To examine any other firearms licensing matter or carry out any other relevant task the Minister considers appropriate during the Committee’s term.
Expressions of Interest in appointment to the Committee were invited early in April 2022, with a closing date of 29th April 2022. Two places on the Committee were allocated in advance to representatives of An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice respectively, with expressions of interests invited in respect of the position of Chairperson and two individual members. According to the Department of Justice, in total, fourteen applications were received for the position of Chairperson and thirty-four for the position of Ordinary Member.
Having regard for the make-up of the Committee as announced on 24th June, the Firearms Users Representative Group, on behalf of its participating member groups, are deeply concerned at the fact that the community of shooting and hunting enthusiasts which their participating members represent is largely unrepresented.
There is no doubt that firearms legislation in Ireland is overdue for review and consolidation. There are eleven Acts of the Oireachtas, thirty-one Statutory Instruments and three EU Directives governing the possession, user and carriage of firearms in Ireland. Firearms legislation in Ireland is widely regarded by many as the most restrictive in Europe and differs significantly from the procedures and protocols applicable in other Member States of the European Union. According to available sources, with an estimated 235000 legally-held firearms in use across an estimated 150000 to 175000 individual owners, while gun ownership in Ireland is less than one-third of the average level of ownership across the majority of EU Member States. Meanwhile, gun crime is largely restricted to a criminal underworld, which will remain unaffected by firearms legislation, current or proposed. Gun crime involving licensed firearms owners is limited to a very small number of isolated cases with specific surrounding circumstances. Criminals will always have access to firearms, with none of the restrictions applicable to the law-abiding sporting shooter.
The deep concern felt by the Firearms Users Representative Group relates to the complete lack of representation of sporting shooters on the new Committee, and the fact that the wide-ranging terms of reference of the Committee are likely to have implications for owners of sporting firearms across a range of shooting disciplines. There is no provision for consultation with sporting shooters, no provision for access to Minutes of meetings of the Committee, or to review or comment on any recommendations of the Committee.
By his action in establishing the FEC in the form proposed and without open consultation with all stakeholders, the Minister has done something unique here, he has united all users of firearms into a cohesive grouping, which never has never happened to this level before. The Firearms Users Representative Group is a fully inclusive and a fully representative voice for firearms users across the widest range of shooting disciplines.
CALL ON MINISTER TO RECONSIDER MAKE-UP OF FIREARMS EXPERT COMMITTEE AND TO ENSURE PROPER REPRESENTATION OF FIREARMS USERS
In these circumstances, the Firearms Users Representative Group and its participating organisations have at best a limited confidence in the Committee and at worst, a highly guarded response to its establishment. We now call on Minister of State James Browne TD to reconsider the make-up of the Committee, to enlarge its base and to ensure full and proper representation of sporting shooters across the range of shooting disciplines embodied by the Firearms Users Representative Group, or alternatively put a system in place where this Group is fully consulted at all stages of this process, and nothing is produced for implementation without consultation and agreement with the Firearms Users Representative Group.
Spokespersons for the Firearms Users Representative Group:
Dan Curley, 086 2328356, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liam Nolan, 0861927845, Email: email@example.com
Member Organisations: National Association of Regional Game Councils, FACE Ireland
(representing 14 fieldsports organisations), Irish Deer Society, Irish Deer Commission, Wild Deer
Association of Ireland, Deer Alliance HCAP, Countryside Alliance (Ireland), Country Sports Ireland,
Midlands National Shooting Centre of Ireland, Irish Firearms Dealers Association, Irish Clay Target
Shooting Association, National Association of Sporting Rifle & Pistol Clubs, Irish Country Sports
Association, Precision Rifles Ireland.
(A few other organisations are considering joining, and are awaiting the approval of their respective
A Massive Thank You To Albert Titterington and his team they are always a pleasure to work with.