Chairman: Paul Walsh, Fia Rua, Ballinclare, Ballycanew, Gorey, Co Wexford

Tele: 086-828 2700                   Email:





The Sports Coalition, an organisation representing the interests of varied groups of countrysports people, has served notice of its boycotting meetings of the Firearms Consultative Panel (FCP) and the Department of Justice because the Minister and his Department continue to sit around the table with people who are representing the interests of those who are the subject of a Garda investigation in relation to illegal use of firearms. This has arisen as a result of one NGO member’s unlawful use of the Garda logo, which is a criminal offence under the Garda Siochana Act and its acknowledged indemnity protection of illegal use of firearms while failing to report such incidents to the appropriate authorities. The Chairman of the Sports Coalition, Paul Walsh, said that it beggars belief that the Minister is prepared to encourage input in relation to the administration of firearms licensing policy from an organisation which has been caught condoning and covering up the illegal use of guns. Mr Walsh said, “This is crying out for the Minister to demonstrate the kind of moral leadership which citizens are entitled to expect. The people concerned should be excluded from any official meetings while criminal investigations are ongoing. The illegal acts identified are ones which would debar a person from owning a gun due to public safety concerns.” He said that the failure to report and the failure of the Minister to respond appropriately gives comfort to firearms offenders.







For further information contact:

Paul Walsh


Mobile:             086 828 2700





Press Release – Centre Fire Sporting Handguns

Press Release




Following representations and written submissions from the Sports Coalition over a period of time, the Department of Justice has communicated today to the Sports Coalition that it is in receipt of confirmation from the Attorney General that licence holders who hold firearms certificates for centre fire handguns can make substitutions, the same as for any other category of firearm, contrary to the policy adopted by An Garda Siochana since the firearms legislation was amended in 2009.  This follows a detailed analysis of the provisions of the legislation by the Sports Coalition and its legal advisors which resulted in a compelling submission to the Department of Justice based on that analysis.  The Coalition urged the Department to seek the advice of the Attorney General which has now produced this very satisfactory result for all centre fire handgun owners.  Appeals by some organisations and individuals previously, including the NASRPC, to the Gardai were met with a blanket refusal.  The current outcome should underline for all the benefit of working through the Sports Coalition, an organisation which has the expertise, strategic vision and an excellent record of achievement in delivering on firearms licensing issues for all sports shooters.  It was achieved by systematic steps undertaken solely by the Sports Coalition on behalf of not only its own members, but to the benefit of members of other organisations also.


The Chairman of the Sports Coalition, Paul Walsh, in expressing his satisfaction in being able to resolve what had become a festering problem, noted the effectiveness of dealing with conflicts through the Sports Coalition and the medium of the Firearms Consultative Panel on the basis of cooperation rather than through the courts has had been the norm in years gone by.  He further noted that this positive outcome will have a knock-on benefit for the gun trade.






The Sports Coalition is an umbrella organisation whose member associations represent 120,000 sports people on the entire island of Ireland who are involved in countrysports, including sport fishing. 

It is a political lobby group registered with the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO).


For further information contact:

Paul Walsh Chairman Sports Coalition (086-8282700)


Des Crofton Spokesperson (087-4634137)

European Parliament votes on firearms directive – 15/3/17

Safe and fair gun law

European Parliament votes on firearms directive

Yesterday, the European Parliament has approved the revision of the EU directive on the Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Weapons. Karl-Heinz Florenz, President of the parliamentary Intergroup Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside explains: “The main goal we wanted to achieve during the negotiations between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council was to ensure safe and fair provisions on firearms that would not adversely affect hunters and sport shooters. The Parliament was able to change some excessive demands of the initial Commission proposal such as standardised obligatory medical tests, while still closing some dangerous loopholes in the existing legislation. Therefore I highly welcome the outcome of yesterday’s final vote on this matter.”

In detail:

  • Semi-automatic firearms remain in category B unless the magazine capacity exceeds 20 rounds for short firearms or 10 rounds for long firearms. Firearms with magazines exceeding these limits now fall into category A7 and are no longer allowed. However sport shooters, collectors, re-enactors and other groups can receive an authorisation to purchase category A weapons if they can demonstrate a legitimate need for such equipment (e.g. practicing for or participating in shooting competitions).
  • Automatic firearms that have been converted into semi-automatic firearms (category A6) are no longer allowed. The conditions for category A authorisations apply.
  • In the future, the purchase of high capacity magazines will only be possible with a category A authorisation. However the possession of high capacity magazines is not prohibited as long as they are not inserted into a firearm.
  • The technical requirements for the deactivation of firearms will be standardised in the EU. Deactivated firearms will be categorised in category C (Firearms subject to declaration).
  • Salute and acoustic firearms will remain in their original category if they have been converted from any working firearm into blank firing.
  • The trade with firearms via distance contracts remains possible for private persons, as long as the identity of the buyer and his authorization to purchase is verified beyond doubt.
  • The EU Member States will be given 15 months for the transposition of this directive into national law. The new legislation will not come into force retroactively. Legitimate owners of firearms of any category will not be dispossessed or criminalised for any purchase made before the entry into force of this directive. Legitimate owners will continue to be able to legally own and use their firearms, including the sale to other people with a corresponding authorisation.

Overview of firearms categories

  • Category A – Prohibited firearms
  • Category B – Firearms subject to authorisation
  • Category C – Firearms subject to declaration
  • Category D – Other firearms

Press Release – 22/2/2017 – UPDATED 24/2/2017

Further to the release posted to the Sports Coalition website regarding an accord between the NARGC and An Garda Siochana at a recent meeting between the two sides, I am relieved to advise all gun owners that following an unsolicited phone call which I received yesterday evening from Inspector Paul Greene of the Firearms Policy Unit at Garda HQ, and who attended the meeting between the two parties, that he emphatically denies that any such accord as has been published by NARGC was reached with An Garda Siochana. Inspector Greene emphasised in our telephone conversation that NARGC members would not be treated differently to any other gun owners.

Paul Walsh
Acting Chairman Sports Coalition

Reminder: Public consultation on firearms Directive

Please note the email below from the FACE Secretariat.  As the official reaction from Member States is becoming increasingly more divided and key allies in the Parliament are now coming forward with amendments suggested by FACE which will be more reasonable for firearms owners, the time is now ripe for shooting people to start contacting their MEP’s and briefing them.  The attached position paper developed by the FACE Europe Expert Group on Firearms is the most succinct and comprehensive briefing document available.  Please pass it to your MEP/s and ask them to support the FACE amendments if and when the Directive comes before the European Parliament for vote.  The bottom line is that the existing Directive is a legal instrument to facilitate free movement of citizens between member states with their sporting firearms and is not, and never was, an instrument to fight terrorism, which is what is now being proposed by the Commission and in the process getting ordinary law abiding citizens caught up in the fight against terrorism.  Whereas much of what is being proposed will affect legal gun owners in many member states (not so much in Ireland because our system of firearms licensing is in effect already incorporating many of the proposed measures), it will not result in making any firearm less available to terrorists which are the target of the Commission’s proposals.  In simple terms, no terrorist will ever read the Directive and feel compelled to respect it. But the revisions proposed by the Commission will establish some dangerous precedents, even for Irish gun ownership (e.g. the minimum age) and it must be resisted.

So, please use the attached position paper and start contacting your MEP’s and TD’s and Senators.  It is important that TD’s and Senators, all of whom will be offering themselves for election very shortly, should be lobbied to persuade the Minister for Justice to adopt an Irish Government position more in line with the FACE position.  Again, I urge people to be friendly but firm and remember, absolutely no abuse or aggressive lobbying please.  I am already discussing the position with the DOJ.

FACE Position with AM on Firearms Directive

Thank you all in advance.

Des Crofton
National Director – NARGC
Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition


From: Johan SVALBY []
Sent: 20 January 2016 13:26To: Johan SVALBY <>
Subject: Reminder: Public consultation on firearms Directive / Consultation publique sur l’ouverture de la Directive sur les armes à feu / Rückmeldung abschicken -Vorschlag für eine Richtlinie zur Änderung der Richtlinie 91/477/EWG
Importance: High


Dear Members (français ci-dessous / Den deutschen Text finden Sie untenstehend),

Reminder: the European Commission is carrying out a public consultation on its proposal regarding the opening of the Firearms Directive on the following link:

We invite you to participate responding to the questions with the FACE position (attached).

We furthermore invite you to give it the widest circulation within your membership.

Please be reminded that you can reply in your national language.

The deadline for replying is 1 February 2016.

Kind regards,

Chers Membres,

La Commission européenne a décidé de réaliser une consultation publique sur sa proposition relative à l’ouverture de la Directive sur les armes à feu sur le lien suivant:

Nous vous invitons à y participer en répondant aux questions à l’aide du papier de position de la FACE en pièce jointe.

Nous vous invitons également à faire circuler cette demande de participation auprès de vos membres.

N’oubliez pas que vous pouvez répondre dans votre langue nationale.

La date limite pour répondre est le 1 février 2016.


Sehr geehrte Mitglieder,

Die Europäische Kommission führt eine öffentliche Konsultation über die Novellierung der Feuerwaffen Richtlinie.

Wir laden Sie ein, den Fragebogen zu beantworten, indem Sie die FACE-Stellungnahme (siehe Anhang) anwenden.

Wir laden Sie außerdem ein, dieser Konsultation die größte Zirkulation innerhalb Ihrer Mitgliedschaft zu geben.

Zur Erinnerung. Sie können in Ihrer Landessprache antworten.

ie Rückmeldungfrist endet am 1. Februar 2016.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,


Director of Legal and Public Affairs
FACE – Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU
Rue F. Pelletier 82, B-1030 BRUSSELS
T: +32 (0) 2 732 6900
F: +32 (0) 2 732 7072

Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, except where the sender specifies with authority, states them to be the views of FACE. This e-mail may contain information which is privileged or confidential. If you received this e-mail in error, please notify us immediately by e-mail or telephone and delete the e-mail without copying or disclosing its contents to any other person.

FISSTA sees off Government plan for Mega Salmon Farms on the West Coast.


The Chairman of the Federation of Irish Salmon and Sea Trout Anglers (FISSTA), Paul Lawton, has welcomed Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s (BIM) announcement of the withdrawal of its Inis Oir/Galway Bay application for the first of ten mega salmon farms along the West Coast of Ireland.

“FISSTA was the first to mobilise and campaign against the plan which was first announced by Minister Simon Coveney TD in 2011. The process for awarding the license was further obstructed following FISSTA’s notice of legal action against the government and Coveney’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine last May which delayed the decision and put political pressure on the Minister to review his ill thought out mega farms plan of 2011.”  said Mr. Lawton.

This announcement by BIM now ends the long wait of the Attorney General’s response to FISSTA as the application is now withdrawn. FISSTA is delighted that the BIM Board has decided to scrap the ten mega farms plan following our national campaign which saw thousands of anglers and supporters of the wild salmon on the streets of Galway city, Castlebar (at the Taoiseach’s office) and Carrigaline (The Minister’s office) over the past five years.

FISSTA will now continue its campaign against the government’s open net sea cage salmon farming policy for which Minister Coveney granted a license in Bantry Bay in October and against which we have currently lodged an objection. FISSTA now calls on the Minister to further review such damaging polluting cages and bring them onshore to be managed under the existing more stringent EU waste management directives.

While no war has been won as yet, FISSTA acknowledges that the first of many battles has ended with the announcement of withdrawal of the Galway Bay application.

FISSTA thanks all who supported the campaign to save Galway Bay from the disaster which the BIM application for 15,000 tons of farmed salmon would have inflicted on the Bay and in terms of the damage which would have wiped out our wild fish resources on the West coast.

FISSTA especially wishes to thank our colleagues in the Sports Coalition and the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) who stood with us and gave their strong support to FISSTSA at this crucial time and to all our angling federations who work together for the good of our sport and our wild salmon. NARGC National Director and Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition, Des Crofton said “There can be no doubt based on every piece of research ever undertaken into fish farms that they pose unacceptable risks to wild fish stocks. The impact which the BIM application would have had on wild Atlantic salmon, had it been successful, would have been disastrous. It would likely have been quite profitable but at what cost environmentally? Had the application proceeded it would have represented an incredible act of hypocrisy, particularly following the Paris Climate Change Summit where the Taoiseach held forth about Ireland’s commitment to playing its part in saving the planet.”

 We wish all a very Happy Christmas and a successful 2016.