Countryside Alliance

Summer 2015 GRASSROOTS Foreword by Lyall Plant, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance Ireland

asking for is a fair and just firearms licensing system that will work for all parties. CAI together with other like minded organisations, has made recommendations to the PSNI and Justice Department based on sound, reasonable evidence and facts but to no avail as yet. We are, however, thankful to the political representatives who have shown their unswerving support for us in respect of these issues. We shall await with avid interest any developments and as always, will keep you updated via our website, facebook page, twitter and eroutes. Informing Politicians The Alliance Party in NI have once again shown their contempt for our rural way of life by tabling a Private Members Motion which categorises the use of wild animals in circuses with hunting, snares and the use of electronic dog collars. In response we have written to all MLAs asking them to vote against this Motion should it ever arise. In our correspondence, we included some additional information on wildlife management methods, in the hope that some of our political representatives might become more educated and informed in matters they may not have dealt with before. We also sent this information to all of the Councillors in the newly formed council areas; many of whom may go on to become MLAs in the future. We cannot expect all of our political representatives to be experts in the field of country sports and vermin control and therefore our aim was to hopefully offer information that was useful and to open lines of communication for the future. Membership CAI membership numbers continue to prosper and we are thankful for your continued support. We are very mindful that in these times of austerity everyone has to control their expenditure wisely and we are pleased to have been able to keep our membership subscriptions at the same rate as last year. We strive to bring you the most competitive, unrivalled and comprehensive membership insurance package available and hope you have found your dealings with the CAI team to be courteous and professional at all times. Whilst we could not survive without our members’ subscriptions to help fund the work of CAI, we are also extremely grateful for your emails and social media interaction

Welcome to the first edition of Countryside Alliance Ireland’s ‘Grassroots’. We are delighted to feature articles from a variety of contributors which we hope you will enjoy and find interesting. The past few months have kept the team at CAI busy; not only with our administrative and lobbying duties but November also saw the relocation of the NI office. We were pleased to have a smooth transition and have settled in well to our new premises. Firearms Licensing The main issue for our members continues to centre on firearms licensing; this being the case for both NI and the Republic. We have been very active in this regard and have engaged extensively with the relevant government departments and representatives. On 29 April we attended a meeting hosted by the Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, in Dublin. The purpose of the meeting was to engage with key stakeholders to outline the Interim Report and to discuss the firearms licensing recommendations contained therein. We reiterated our recommendation that a centralised licensing system should be established which would help end the inconsistent approach that we currently see. In addition, CAI supported the act of ballistic testing for all short firearms but insisted the cost should be borne by An Garda Síochána, as it is in NI by the PSNI. The Minister will now consider what has been voiced and discuss with her officials on the way forward. In NI, we have also met with various government officials and at the time of going to press we are scheduled to present evidence to the Justice Committee at Stormont on 28 May. We sincerely hope the ongoing impasse can be mitigated. Unfortunately, it seems to be a never ending round of to’ing and fro’ing with no positive result or benefit when all we are

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