Irish Game Fair & Fine Food Festival Shanes Castle 29 & 30 June 2019

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

Gamefair shooting (003)

 

 

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.

Countryside Alliance Ireland welcomes the move from the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan to reverse her decision to stop wood pigeon shooting for crop protection during June, July and August.

CAI and other stakeholders had written to the Minister highlighting the damage wood pigeon do physically to crops and the income loss to farmers, calling for an explanation on the department’s decision.

In response the Minister said “Scientific advice was given to me by my officials who propose removing the wood pigeon as they suggested there is limited evidence to suggest that they do, in fact, cause serious damage to crops over the summer. However, serious concerns have been raised by deputies and other stakeholders with me about the exclusion of the wood pigeon because of damage to crop yields and some of the other reasons mentioned”.
Gary McCartney CAI Director Northern Ireland said “Thankfully common sense has won the day and while the decision has been overturned, we still call on the Minister to provide the evidence for stakeholders to scrutinise and to understand the reasons why such a decision was taken especially as this is will come up again in the future” .

He added, “the food sector remains one of the key drivers of the Irish economy and substantial losses to produce from pigeons will ultimately reduce the income for farmer’s and the State who are facing unprecedented challenges at this time of national crisis that cannot be afforded”.

CAI continues to believe in a common sense, partnership approach and we look forward to continued engagement with both National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Culture Heritage & the Gaeltacht.

We would like to thank all the TDs and other elected representatives, IFA, NARGC, other partner organisations, and all those who have taken an active role lobbing to get the ban overturned.

Read our letter to the Minister here

Read the Minister’s response here

Following the announcement 18th May 2020 by the First and Deputy First Minister, Countryside Alliance Ireland welcome the easing of restrictions and that shooting, equestrian and other country sports activities may now take place.

What does this mean for country sports enthusiasts in Northern Ireland?

You can an activity in a group of up to six people with whom you do not share a household, but you must maintain social distancing and all covid hygiene measures.

You are permitted to travel to a suitable outdoor location.

There is no restriction on the distance you are allowed to travel.

 

Shooting

Live quarry, clay and target shooting can resume as long as social distancing is adhered to and equipment is not shared unless from the same household. As syndicates prepare for the arrival of birds and carrying out work parties a risk assessment should be carried out to ensure government advice is followed.

Please implement the following:

  • Wash you hands with soap and water before you set off.
  • Keep at least 2 metres away from all other people and if possible
  • Take extra care to respect the health and safety of land owners. Respect signage. Follow all reasonable requests to avoid sensitive areas.
  • Leave gates as you find them, where there is no livestock. Gates may have been left open to avoid contact.
  • If you do need to open and close gates, wear gloves to minimise risk of you transmitting or picking up COVID 19.
  • Wash your hands on return, regardless of whether you’ve worn gloves. Don’t forget to wash your gloves.
  • With an increase in the number of people accessing outdoor areas for places to exercise or walk dogs etc, remain aware of the needs of fellow users of open spaces.
  • Each person is responsible for acting in an appropriate manner within the guidelines.

Clubs may also open to club members only for practice. Clubs must strictly adhere to the government guide lines with a maximum of 6 people and social distancing rules apply. No share of equipment should take place outside of you household. Club houses must also remain closed. Again A risk assessment should be carried out prior to opening ensuring government advice is followed.

Clubs should also be consider the following.

  • Providing hand washing facilities.
  • Members should avoid touching club equipment, where this is not possible hand sanitiser, gloves or other appropriate PPE should be provided.
  • Members pre-booking time slots in advance to control numbers on the ground.
  • Discourage those who wish to socialise to spectate from attending, only those taking part should be on site.
  • One-way system to control the flow of members around the site.
  • Were payment is required clubs should consider contactless forms of payment.

Equine

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you set off.
  • Keep at least 2 metres away from all other people and if possible, try to avoid busy times on popular paths or places.
  • Take extra care to respect the health and safety of land owners. Respect signage. Follow all reasonable requests to avoid sensitive areas.
  • Think carefully about your route. Can you avoid gates to minimise risk to you and others when touching surfaces?
  • Leave gates as you find them, where there is no livestock. Gates may have been left open to avoid contact.
  • If you do need to open and close gates, wear gloves to minimise risk of you transmitting or picking up CV. Wash your gloves between rides.
  • Wash your hands on return, regardless of whether you’ve worn gloves. Wash your gloves between each ride off your own property.
  • Please be courteous at all times.
  • With an increase in the number of people accessing outdoor areas for places to exercise, remain aware of the needs of fellow users of open spaces and places where you are allowed to ride or carriage-drive.
  • Ensure you check in your local area before setting off whether access to places you used to ride are open such as beaches and forests.
  • Each person is responsible for acting in an appropriate manner within the guidelines applicable to where you are living and where you keep or exercise your horse.

Clubs may also open to club members only for practice. Clubs must strictly adhere to the government guide lines with a maximum of 6 people and social distancing rules apply. No share of equipment should take place outside of you household. Club houses must also remain closed. Again A risk assessment should be carried out prior to opening ensuring government advice is followed.

Equestrian clubs should also be consider the following.

  • Providing hand washing facilities.
  • Members should avoid touching club equipment, where this is not possible hand sanitiser, gloves or other appropriate PPE should be provided.
  • Members pre-booking time slots in advance to control numbers on the ground.
  • Discourage those who wish to socialise to spectate from attending, only those taking part should be on site.
  • One-way system to control the flow of members around the site.
  • Were payment is required clubs should consider contactless forms of payment.

Countryside Alliance welcome’s Fisheries Minister Edwin Poots announcement that the Public Angling Estate (PAE) will gradually re-open to local anglers from Monday.

We understand this has been a frustrating time for anglers and we thank you for your self discipline and resolve over the past few months in the fight against COVID 19.

Thirty PAE’s across Northern Ireland will re-open to the public for recreational use, but anglers should only use the DAERA facilities within their local area and should not travel long distances. Minister Poots also confirmed that car parking facilities will remain closed until 27 May 2020.

Speaking about the announcement, the Minister said: “In the interests of public health, I shut down the angling estate on 30 March, to discourage unnecessary journeys and protect my staff as well as anglers themselves, given that the majority are in the 50+ age bracket and many have concessionary angling licences due to underlying health issues.

“While car parks will remain closed until 27 May to discourage long journeys, I have decided to permit local anglers back on to the Public Angling Estate so that they can participate in their favourite recreational activity.

“By its nature, angling is a solo sport or hobby, and its participants can enjoy a day’s fishing without being in close contact with others. The sport has huge benefits for people’s mental and physical well-being and in this time of uncertainty, I know that many people have missed the solitude and peace that angling and being outdoors with nature, brings them.

“However, let me be clear – anglers must continue to follow social distancing guidelines, practice good hand hygiene and walk to their nearest PAE, fishing alone or with a member of their own household. I do not want to see crowds of people near the river banks and fisheries.”

CAI would like to remind readers that, whilst it is now acceptable to go out and fish, it is advised that this should be done locally, at a safe distance from others (meaning two metres away from anyone else), and that equipment should not be shared with anyone outside of your household.

Northern Ireland has recently seen over 300 wildfires in just three weeks. These have the capability to devastate farmland, wildlife and protected habitats, as well as the lives of people living and working in rural communities. The risk at spring time is particularly prevalent as dead vegetation left over from the winter, higher temperatures and lower humidity levels can come together with deadly effect. The Countryside Alliance wishes to raise the awareness of the risk and potential damage of wildfires, and educate on the measures that can be taken to reduce those risks.

Wildfires in the UK are becoming more frequent. 2018 and 2019 together saw more damage caused by wildfires than the entirety of the previous decade, with nearly 50,000 hectares destroyed in over 200 wildfires. Their ability to start in rural locations, and under difficult conditions, is a threat that rural fire and rescue services have to be prepared for, and successful partnerships and groups have therefore been formed in high risk areas with great success, promoting cooperation and collaboration on wildfire issues. In this, gamekeepers and moorland managers have a particularly important role, as they are frequently the first to see and report wildfires, and their specialist equipment is invaluable in helping put them out.

Adrian Blackmore, Director of Shooting at the Countryside Alliance said: “Wildfires can have potentially devastating impacts on farming and local communities, wildlife and protected habitats. It is essential that all steps are taken to reduce the risk, this includes increasing education for those that enjoy our beautiful countryside. Raising awareness is the key to reducing risk.

“Remaining vigilant, especially during spells of hot dry weather like we have now, is essential. Furthermore, disposing of litter correctly, in particularly smoking materials, can help prevent wildfires. On top of this, at a time when our emergency services are already over-stretched due to Covid-19, we cannot risk jeopardizing their vital resources.”

DAERA and Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) are asking farmers and the public for their help during the current dry weather spell which has sparked a wildfire warning.
If you see a fire:
• If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately to the Fire & Rescue Service;
• Do not attempt to tackle fires that cannot be put out with a bucket of water;
• Leave the area as soon as possible;
• If you see someone setting fires, report it to the PSNI.
If you do know people who are fire setting, let the PSNI know to assist with prosecutions.
If you are in the countryside:
• Extinguish cigarettes and other flammable materials properly
• Never throw cigarette ends out of car windows
• Avoid using open fires in the countryside
• Be considerate in parking vehicles so as not to impede access by emergency vehicles.

The Countryside Alliance Ireland is concerned about what the impact of excess rubbish generated over the lockdown period could have on rural areas in Northern Ireland, which is often falls victim to fly-tippers.

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.

Many local authorities have had to shut waste recycling centres at this time and are concentrating on keeping kerbside collections going.

The group have published the following advice:

Getting rid of your waste during COVID-19

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.

Local authorities are ultimately responsible for household waste and we advise the public to check with your local authority for up-to-date information on collection and 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 is not essential travel. Not only are you committing an offence by littering, but you are also ignoring guidance that has been introduced to stop the spread of this dangerous virus. Keeping up to date with the latest guidance from your local council in relation to refuse collection is very important. The images of fly-tipping, though horrendous, are an all too familiar sight. Please, in these uncertain times, plan out any household activity that could generate excess amounts of rubbish in line with the guidance being put out by your local council regarding waste collection.

“With no near end to the lockdown in sight, local authorities will need to assess the feasibility of re-opening recycling centres. While it does seem like the most obvious answer to stopping fly-tipping, social distancing guidelines and staff safety will no doubt form a big part in the decision to re-open. 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 can’t cope. The re-opening of recycling centres by Mid and East Antrim council will serve as important case study for other local authorities. If successful, other authorities may be more likely to re-open their centres too. We really hope it’s a success”

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”.

CAI have been informed that two areas will be offered by Forest Service NI for shooting on a four year lease.

map42_ShootingGlenone

map35_ShootingGlenariffParkmore

Interested parties should contact Patrick Irvine on 028 9335 2727 or by email p.irvine@jamcclelland.com

A completed management plan/proposal (enclosed) must be completed and returned to J A McClelland & Sons (Aucts) Ltd., 2 Doagh Road, Ballyclare, Co. Antrim, BT39 9BH / p.irvine@jamcclelland.com , to be forwarded to Forest Service.

Management plans must be submitted using the template provided. Answers must be provided to all questions including the pointers within the answer boxes. Incomplete plans and plans submitted on any other templates will be rejected.

The Licences are for a period ending 31st March 2024. The Licences must be adhered to at all times.

It is a requirement of the Licence that if successful a Risk Assessment must be completed annually (or confirmation that the previous risk assessment is still adequate and reflects current risk). If it does not, a new risk assessment must be forwarded together with valid insurance cover worth at least £10M, which must always be produced annually. A specimen Licence Agreement and Management Plan is attached.

Please note that if you operate as part of a club or syndicate the Licence should be held in the name of the club/syndicate with you as a contact. The agreement will need to be signed by three members of the club and a list of the members attached. This allows the club to retain the Licence should the contact person change or move on for any reason.

All applicants should be aware that The Environment Protection (Restriction on Use of Lead Shot) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 came into effect on 01 September 2009. This legislation applies to all shotgun shooters in Northern Ireland and to all bores of shotgun, without exception. It prohibits the use of lead shot on or over any area of wetland for any shooting activity. Wetlands are defined as, regardless of size, any areas of foreshore, marsh, fen, peatland with standing water, regularly or seasonally flooded fields and other water sources whether they be natural or manmade, static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt.

SHOOTING ON FOREST SERVICE LANDS 2019 ADVICE TO LICENSEES

Forest Service requires that all Licensees on Forest Service lands have a written statement identifying risks associated with shooting and also the controls in place to ensure the safety of shooters and other forest users.

All successful tenders will now be required to sign and enter into a Licence Agreement (specimen attached) which will require the Licensee to agree to carry out an annual risk assessment for all shooting activities before the start of each shooting season.

The following points should be considered when preparing a risk assessment:

• Identify any inherent forest hazards, such as quarries, mine shafts and deep water (this information is available at the local forest office and by means of a hazard statement) • Identify other forest hazards such as visitors and forestry operations • Identify emergency procedures in case of an accident • Agree a system of communication with the local forest officer to avoid conflict with other forest users • Comply with current best practice guidance on shooting activities.

Shooting Information 2019

Management Plan

 

National Parks and Wildlife Service would normally send application packs in early April by post to those hunters who held a licence for the 2019/2020 deer hunting season. However, due the impact of Covid-19 on the operation of the Wildlife licensing Unit, we will not be sending the applications out by post at this point in time. The Department will keep this matter under review.

In the meantime, the application form and supporting documents are now available on the NPWS website at the following link https://www.npws.ie/…/hunti…/deer-hunting-licences-2020-2021

Thank you for your understanding during these difficult times.

Please note – we will keep information in this area as up to date as possible, however, due to the fast-moving nature of the current situation, news and guidelines are constantly changing. We will endeavour to update with further guidance when appropriate.

The efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 have intensified, with the country now in lockdown. The Government have published a list of very specific guidelines about who and when it is acceptable to leave your home. However, when it comes to the countryside there are grey areas surrounding issues such as animal welfare and crop protection.


Our advice is as follows:
Although these pursuits may take place in isolation, we are advising our members to not take part in any form of shooting or deer stalking. This is a national emergency, and it is one that requires a combined effort from us all. We have been told to remain at home as part of this combined effort, and whilst it is often possible to make loose interpretations of guidelines, such as “stalking is my exercise”, now is not the time to look for loop holes. Rather, it is a time to pull together. Furthermore, shooting and stalking often require travel to the ground, which is non-essential and therefore forbidden. They also carry various associated risks: in the event of an accident in the field we will be putting the emergency services under unnecessary pressure when they can least afford it, and it is therefore the responsibility of everyone to decide whether an activity is really necessary or not.


There are specific circumstances when shooting or stalking may be permissible. The shooting of certain wild birds for the protection of food crops under the terms of the General Licence is one example, with fox control during the lambing season being another. However, shooting should only take place if it is to prevent serious damage over the next three weeks; the duration of the lockdown. Whilst there may be occasions when this will be the case, in many instances it may be possible to delay the necessary control for three weeks without undue damage. If it is at all possible, please stay at home.

We will update you further when we have received specific guidance.
At all times, it is vital that everybody complies with government guidelines regarding the Covid-19 outbreak which can be found here.

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