Representatives of the Sports Coalition have held a very constructive meeting with officials of the newly structured Criminal Justice Policy Unit of the Department of Justice which oversees firearms policy.  A number of issues were discussed, including the recent S.I. on storage and transportation of firearms and ammunition, leadshot and night shooting, to mention but a few items.  Although some matters fall primarily within the competence of the National Parks & Wildlife Service, it was an opportunity to brief the new officials on a  range of matters which are currently of interest to shooting and hunting people.  The SC commended the Officials on the smooth transposing of the new EU Directive on the transportation of firearms and ammunition into Irish law.  It was noted that the Department had opted to legislate within the provisions of the Directive for relatively easier levels of compliance than applies in many other member states based on the narrower range of firearms used in Ireland.  The new arrangements will give comfort to the general public, thereby assuaging further public concerns which might inadvertently arise in an era when news headlines record opportunistic attacks abroad, such as the recent incident in London.  Securing ammunition and firearms during transportation is a very small – even responsible – obligation which many firearms owners already comply with. No rightminded person could possibly object to such a self-evident security measure.


We had a very brief discussion on the new Directive banning leadshot.  Although this falls primarily within the remit of the National Parks & Wildlife Service, it was noted that the move has been expected for years and a great deal has already been written about it.  The SC representatives expressed disappointment that while much knowledge was put into the public domain about the impending EU legislation, neither the mainstream shooting associations nor the NPWS had taken any initiatives on the matter which could have prepared and cushioned the effects on shooters far better than will now be the case.


Some other matters were discussed and will be advanced in the year ahead.  Both sides expressed confidence that with a continuing sensible and constructive dialogue, much progress can be made and it was agreed to meet again in the new year to advance matters.