Minister releases New SI & planned new arrangements for firearms administration

Dear All,


The Minister for Justice & Equality, France Fitzgerald TD, published last Friday, September the 18th, a new S.I. (attached) governing the licensing of target handguns together with announcing planned new arrangements for the administration of the firearms licensing system generally (also attached).  These announcements come in response to the controversial report and recommendations of the joint review carried out by the Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana this time last year and the response and campaign to that report by the Sports Coalition.  Of significance is the fact that all of the arrangements which the Minister has announced were sought by the Sports Coalition in its numerous meetings, briefings and submissions.  Suffice to say that all firearms currently licensed are safe and there are no proposals to ban anything.  Of particular significance for game shooting people is the fact that the proposal to ban certain semi-automatic shotguns is dropped as are the proposals to give An Garda Siochana new powers to refuse firearms licence applications for any firearm based on calibre, appearance, proliferation etc.


I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our colleagues in the Sports Coalition for their support and work over the past year.  I also wish to thank the many thousands of individual shooting people who contributed actively to our campaign by lobbying their local public representatives.  My appreciation also goes to those members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice & Equality and particularly its Chairman, David Stanton T.D., for their measured consideration and contributions to resolving what had become a difficult and complicated issue.  I also want to acknowledge the positive and pragmatic approach adopted by Minister Fitzgerald in arriving at her decision.  Her planned proposals will in time make a very positive contribution to removing the acrimonious and adversarial approach, which has characterised firearms licensing in this Country over the past ten years, while at the same time taking full account of public safety concerns.  It therefore goes without saying that I and the Sports Coalition welcome and fully endorse the Ministers announcement. Lastly, I wish to pay tribute to William Egan, Solicitor, who has been a fearless defender of shooting sports for the past twenty years. His achievements are unrivalled anywhere in this area.  He has provided free legal advice to the Sports Coalition since it was formed which has proved invaluable in our campaign. There are other individuals who are deserving of our gratitude and suffice to say I will be communicating that to those people personally in due course.


On a personal note, I am particularly proud to have been chosen by the sports shooting organisations in the Coalition to lead the campaign which has achieved this positive result.  It is for me the culmination of more than 6 year’s hard work which at times seemed hopeless and was punctuated in equal measure by highs and lows.  It is my hope that shooting people can now settle down to concentrating on participation in their chosen sport and leave behind the need to engage in a constant battle to even renew a firearms certificate.


I look forward to a more positive engagement with the DOJ and An Garda Siochana.

Desmond Crofton
National Director – NARGC
Spokesperson for the Sports Coalition