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Emerald Newsletter October 2010 Volume 10, Issue 2

It has always been an inescapable fact that throughout Ireland there are people, be it organisations or politicians, who are opposed to country sports. Unfortunately, in recent months, this has become much more evident. The successful passage of a number of bills within the Dรกil and the Assembly has further highlighted the threats that country sports are facing. We cannot allow these attacks to go unchallenged. Help is needed from you, your hunt, club or syndicate to defeat these threats we are facing in the immediate future. Politicians hold the key to opposing any future bans, and politically there is only one commodity that they deal in: numbers! We must therefore demonstrate that those who support country sports and rural activities are a much bigger group than those who oppose them. We need to show that Countryside Alliance Ireland is a large, dynamic and united organisation. With the very future of country sports and rural activities in Ireland being challenged, it is time you all took a stand in support of our rural way of life.


A Message from Lyall Plant Autumn is upon us again and the country sports fraternities are eagerly anticipating the winter months. Let’s hope that this season proves to be a successful and enjoyable one. It has been a busy six months since the last Newsletter, both in the Republic and Northern Ireland. I wish to thank everybody now for their continued support in these difficult times and to remind anyone who has not yet been fighting to defeat these threats, that now is the time to start. In the Republic of Ireland, there have been two controversial and unfortunate changes in legislation. Firstly, at the end of June, there was the decision to ban stag hunting. Although there is only one recognised stag hunt in the Republic of Ireland, this decision could be seen by some as the beginning of the end.

the tabling of Amendment 23, which in effect would have prohibited shooting and fishing throughout Northern Ireland. This was a short-lived celebration as many other issues still need attention. Within this Bill there is the very real possibility that permanent protection of the Irish Hare will be granted. This would essentially put an end to all forms of hunting with beagles or harriers and in effect could lead to a total ban of hunting with dogs. The docking of dogs’ tails has arisen as an issue within the ‘Welfare of Animals Bill’. We believe an exemption for working dogs should be included within the Bill and are continuing to fight for this; as indeed we are with the Dogs (Amendment) Bill and the proposals to introduce compulsory microchipping. We assure our members, both North and South of the border, that these threats will be fought all the way. In reality, there are too many threats facing country sports to mention here, so please be assured, as an organisation, Countryside Alliance Ireland and I personally as Chief Executive are doing everything we can to protect and maintain our rural way of life.

This blow came somewhat unexpectedly as the show of support from the country at the RISE! rallies was phenomenal, and praise should be given to everyone who attended. The attention should now be focused on ensuring that no more threats are able to become reality and vigilance is needed. Secondly, the ‘Dog Breeding Bill’ was passed in July. Again, this was a blow to hunting and possibly shooting clubs. Thankfully the amendment was introduced exempting hunting organisations from registration fees and microchipping for the time being, but this is only a small step; Minister Gormley has stated that his proposals may come into force in January 2011. In Northern Ireland politicians have also been striving to interrupt our rural way of life. The ‘Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill’ has already claimed the practise of hare coursing, and is threatening to do the same to fishing, shooting and hunting. Fortunately, with a lot of hard work, we have managed to stop

Countryside Alliance Ireland held four regional Information and Briefing meetings. These were well attended by both the public and MLAs. This was the first step to ensuring that all MLAs were informed of the advantages of country sports and therefore able to make unbiased and informed decisions on their opinions. Our Northern office and CAI members are continuing to lobby their MLAs.

NI office: Countryside Alliance Ireland, The Courtyard, Larchfield Estate, Balliesmills Road, Lisburn, County Down, BT27 6XJ

Tel: 028 9263 9911 Fax: 028 9263 9922 Email: info@caireland.org Web: www.caireland.org

RoI Office:

Countryside Alliance Ireland, Courtlough Shooting Grounds, Courtlough, Balbriggan, Co Dublin

Tel: 01 6903610 and select the relevant option Fax: 048 9263 9922 Email: info@caireland.org Web: www.caireland.org

Presidents:

Northern Ireland—Mr Bert Carlisle, Vice President: The Lord Dunleath, Republic of Ireland—Lord Waterford

Chairman:

Mr Paul Cran, Vice Chairman: Vacant

Board Members:

Mr Peter Bacon, Mr Noel Carr, Mr Vincent Flannely, Mr Tom Fulton, Mr Steve Hatcher, Mr Richard Johnson, Lord Meath, Mr John McBride, Mr Jim Wilson

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Chief Executive:

Mr Lyall Plant, General Manager: Mrs Ashley Graham, Membership Administration: Mrs Liz Brown and Mr David Agnew,

Miss Jenny Copeland (Volunteer)


A Message from Lyall Plant On a happier note, the Game and Country Fairs held over the summer were a resounding success. The weather was mostly fine, and the craic was good. There was plenty to see for all country sports enthusiasts, and from what I hear, the competition in all sectors was fierce. Every year I thoroughly enjoy these fairs and especially the opportunity to meet and chat with our members. Congratulations must go to Team Ireland for their 10 medals at the World Association Precision Pistol German International Open. This result clearly demonstrates the need to continue to fight for the future of target shooting in Ireland.

JOIN YOUR FRIENDS Encourage your friend to take up membership of

The Irish gun-dog team proved they were a force to be reckoned with at this year’s CLA Game Fair at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. Two of their handlers achieved top individual awards with ‘Best Individual Spaniel’ and ‘Best Hunting Spaniel’, and the team finished an overall 3rd so congratulations to everyone involved with the team.

Countryside Alliance Ireland and be entered in a free draw to win an original David Carlisle Painting

I can speak for the rest of the CAI team when I say how much we enjoy hearing of our members successes and events happening throughout Ireland; so please keep emailing and posting us information. We will try our best to include these items in our news emails.

Thank you for your support of the Countryside Alliance Ireland. All our full membership categories include free country sports insurance. Please call our membership department on 028 9263 9911 from NI or 01 690 3610 from the Republic to take advantage of this Offer. For further details visit our website at

www.caireland.org This offer is only available by contacting our Membership Department on 028 9263 9911 from NI or 01 690 3610 from the RoI. One entry per new member recruited. Offer closes on the 31st August 2011

I conclude by thanking everyone for their continued support and reiterating the point that as a country we cannot afford to let complacency ruin our rural way of life. Therefore diligence and being proactive in the fight is essential. We are launching a special member get a member offer with the chance to win a superb painting of a Salmon just in from the sea by the late David Carlisle. This painting has been kindly donated by our NI President Mr Bert Carlisle. (see advert opposite). Full details will be available on our website at www.caireland.org I sincerely hope that the next few months will be more encouraging and the next newsletter will be full of happier news. Yours in sport Lyall

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WDAI News

The 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Wild Deer Association of Ireland (WDAI) recently took place in Kilcoran Lodge Hotel, Cahir, Co. Tipperary. Officers elected were Billy O’Regan President, Pat Scully Chairman, Tom O’Donnell Vice Chairman, Damien Hannigan Hon Secretary, Tom Grace Treasurer, Eddie Graef Safety Officer, Dominic O’Hea PRO in addition twenty seven committee members from all regions were elected. Due to the significant growth in the association’s membership and growing demands on resources, members were offered the opportunity to receive notices by an email or by joining a new Facebook Page created for members and non members. Members were informed 2009/10 was by far the busiest year the association has experienced, with the association representing its members on many important issues, along with hosting and taking part in numerous events since the last AGM. The recent threat to deer-stalking, led by the Green Parties “anti rural agenda’’ was highlighted. There has been considerable public and political controversy about the Wildlife (Amendment) Bill 2010. However, the controversy over the banning of the Ward Union Hunt must not be allowed to obscure the fact that the Bill goes much further than that single objective. Following the WDAI submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee, Deputy Maire Hoctor along with five other Fianna Fáil backbenchers signed a motion for the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary party meeting, seeking an amendment to and if not, the deletion of Section 3 of the proposed bill which claimed that a hunter with two dogs or more would be liable to a serious summons while stalking wild deer.

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This was followed by a statement on June 1st by Minister of State at the DOE, Michael Finneran on behalf of Minister Gormley, stating “It was never the intention that the legislation would place any restriction on lawful deer stalking. Accordingly, the Minister is in consultation with Parliamentary Counsel on an amendment to the Bill to address the fears expressed by Wild Deer Association of Ireland and Irish Deer Society representing deer hunters that the provisions of the Bill will inadvertently affect the legitimate practice of deer stalking. This amendment relates to Section 3 of the Bill.’’ The support received from Sean Fleming TD, Maire Hoctor TD and Phil Hogan TD, CAI, NARGC, Deer Alliance and IDS, was acknowledged. There was also deep concern expressed that Minister Gormley was issuing licences to landowners under Section 42 of the Wildlife Acts, to cull female deer during the months of May and June, when female deer gave birth to fawns. If the female was shot, the fawn would be orphaned and suffer a horrendous death, which can take a number of weeks. It was acknowledged that legitimate deer-stalkers do not request licences under Section 42, to cull female deer, rather the license they receive, may be non-specific as to what sex can be culled. The WDAI supports and promotes the culling of female deer as part of a proper deer management programme, in reducing deer numbers where over population exists. However culling females when a fawn is born during these months and in fact right up to August – September when the fawn is still dependent, is an inhumane practice and contrary to animal welfare or ethical deer stalking. The WDAI has written to Minister Gormley, highlighting their concerns and calling on him to immediately consult with the organisation’s representing deer hunters, on this matter.


WDAI News The WDAI also attended the National Country Fair at Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath and The Irish Game and Country Fair at Birr Castle, Co. Offaly as a guest of Countryside Alliance Ireland, to whom we wish to thank for

At a national and European level the WDAI continues to be respected and acknowledged as a leading authority on wild deer and as a national representative body for deer stalkers in Ireland. This status has received further recognition with our association receiving an invitation and accepting membership of FACE Ireland and CIC International. FACE is recognised by the European Commission as the main discussion partner, representing Europe’s 7 million hunters, whereas, CIC International represents hunters in over 80 countries around the world. In the coming months the WDAI plans to launch a number of important initiatives to support legitimate deer stalkers and protect the reputation of deer-stalking. “Report a Wildlife Crime’’ will allow the reporting of wildlife crimes such as deer poaching, through the associations website or by completing a questionnaire, each report will be logged and followed up by the relevant authorities. The WDAI is also joining an existing “Wildlife Warden’’ initiative provided by the Shannon, Mulkear District, Angling Club. This provides a voluntary “Wildlife Warden” service detecting various wildlife crimes with the support of the relevant authorities, this initiative has had many successes since its launch in 2009. These inititavies have the full support of Countryside Alliance Ireland. Members were informed reports of Road Traffic Accidents involving deer or “Deer RTA’s” are on the increase, as our growing motorway network impacts on existing deer habitat and the range of our deer herds expands. Were a human fatality to happen resulting from a Deer RTA, this could create a negative and alarmist impression of wild deer, with possible negative consequences for deer-stalking. Kildare Deer Watch in recent years has begun to identify, Deer RTA’s hotspots in the Kildare area, along with educating road users, road planners and County Councils on the corrective actions required to reduce Deer RTA’s.

their unconditional & continued support. In memory of former Chairman John Creedon, the John Creedon Memorial Award for Wildlife Photography sponsored by Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI) was presented. The competition was judged by award winning and renowned Wildlife Photographer Mark Combes, with Vincent Flannelly on behalf of CAI presenting the first prize to Tony Tang, Wexford, who captured a fantastic image while hunting in the Masai Mara, Kenya. Pictured page 3 : Tony Tang’s winning photograph. Damien Hannigan Wild Deer Association of Ireland 087 2496987

It has now been decided to extend this programme as part of a national Deer RTA awareness group called Deer Awareness Ireland, in which the WDAI will play an important role.

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Rathcormac Gun Club, Co Cork -

It is refreshing to know that hardwork and volunteerism is alive and kicking in the post Celtic Tiger Ireland. This is certainly the case at the Rathcormac Gun Club in Co Cork, as I found out on a recent visit to the club. This club is all about preserving, protecting and participating in rough shooting, and they have 23 members, all active, all year round. They also develop and encourage young members to become involved in all aspects of the club; it would be a truism to say that it is this young blood that drives the new innovations in how the club is represented and run, creating a new image of the club and the sport of shooting in general. The aims and objectives of the club are clear, preserve stock levels, protection of habitat, participation in all aspects of the club, (not just shooting). This is not the type of club that remains dormant from one shooting season to the next; if you a looking for gun club membership merely to secure a gun licence, then this is NOT the club for you. The drive and dedication is evident in many areas, quality of pheasant release pens, bird husbandry, management of habitat, and last but by no means least is the level of respect and support they have from farmers and the wider community. Because Rathcormac Gun Club is located in a small close-net community, many members are also involved in other clubs. As a consequence the Gun Club assists hunt clubs, coursing clubs, fishing clubs and scouts to run events

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or assist in anyway they can. The club appears very open and transparent, they have the normal administrative positions, procedures and rules, but the meetings do not have a top table approach and are fully inclusive, “this is not a dictatorship, young and old, all views are considered and discussed equally and a plan is formed, above all we have a bit of craic in everything we do”. The club wants to acknowledge, “the support received from Countryside Alliance Ireland, not just with an excellent membership insurance package, but also for creating a network for fieldsport enthusiasts, that share ideas and exchange information freely. In addition CAI were strongly involved in the RISE campaign, which we supported at the rallies”. The club always take the view that “it can be done better”, “doing it the way my father did it” isn’t acceptable here, especially after suffering from poor yield returns from the previous pheasant release programme (holding pen, manual handling, and then releasing to the wild), which clearly wasn’t working. They conducted research in to alternative methods and consulted with gamekeepers in Ireland and the UK and have now built open top release pens with fox proof pheasant re-entry grills. The location of the pens is critical, not just a strategic location in the parish, but in terms of locating the pen with sufficient ground cover and natural perching, “it is important that this


A Breath of Fresh Air! environment is completely natural”. This is where the good relationship with landowners is important. Interestingly this year’s release pens are all located on lands owned by nonshooting farmers; proof of the good working relationship this club has with the landowners. The pens have a low stocking density, birds are entered in to pens at 7 weeks. There is feed and water inside and outside of the pen and the birds are in their natural environment with no human contact. This is the second year of this programme and the results from the first year have been excellent, chick losses and pecking damage have been eliminated, bird quality has been very high and bird migration across the parish is highly evident. Following on from the success of this programme, two other gun clubs have visited the pens and in turn have built their own pens along similar lines. The Club would also like to issue an open invitation to any club who would like to visit the release pens, game crop and their duck ponds, contact details are available on www.rathcormacgunclub.ie As we crossed over a ditch on the way to one of the release pens, I noticed two of the members mounted the ditch with the grace and speed of a 90 year old man. Upon enquiring, I was told that the Club took part in the Cork City Marathon in aid of a local charity and some were still suffering the consequences. Like everything about this club, this was an all inclusive project, 3 members ran the full 26.2 mile course and a relay team of 5 also competed in the relay event. Stephen, one of the young guns was also getting plenty of stick for “inventing a hurling injury” and pulling out at the last minute. The non-running members were also involved by collecting sponsorship for their chosen charity. The club raised €3,474

for St Patricks Hospital in Fermoy from this event alone. This is a community hospital which is held in very high regard locally, as most families in the area would have had some connection with the hospital through the years. Charitable work isn’t a new adventure for the club, for the past 3 years, club members have competed in the 4x4 Challenge for Temple Street Children’s hospital in Dublin, in all they have raised over €4,000 for Temple Street. By the end of my visit my curiosity was getting the better of me, as to who was the driving force behind this relentless push for success in every aspect of the club? My initial view was that the Chairman, Colman Howard was the catalyst, however Colman describes his role merely as “the glue that keeps the club focused on the project in hand and at the same time works with the team on planning the next project”. The driving force for the Club is clearly the young members, “They are full of ideas and have a real, Can Do attitude, they put us under a lot of pressure to progress”. “We as a Club, and the sport in general, are fortunate to have such a high number of young enthusiastic members passionate about field sports, to put it into numbers our club has an average age of 29, which is quite young when you compare it to other gun clubs”. This youthful drive is also evident in the current project of building a website. The club is moving into a new era in communications and keeping up with modern technology such as Facebook, Flicker and Twitter. YouTube is also a big feature of their website with many clips of gundogs at work and shooting scenes. The launch of this website is expected in the autumn, So keep an eye out for it!, I am sure it will live up to the high standards set by every other aspect of this great club. I look forward to a return visit to this progressive club (Rathcormac Gun Club, Co.Cork) in the coming years, thanks to the guys for their honesty in answering my questions and the hospitality shown to me during my visit Lyall Plant Pictures courtesy of Michael Howard, Rathcormac Gun Club.

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The Fascination of Summer Tench

Not everyone coarse fishes and many that do totally overlook one of Ireland’s most tenacious and hard fighting fish, the summer tench. Tinca tinca to give the fish its Latin name emerges from its winter slumber, usually in late April or early May. As the spring sunshine begins to warm our ponds and lakes the fish, almost catatonic like through the depths of winter slowly but surely begins to patrol the margins of rapidly growing lillies and water cabbage. The fish often betrays it’s very existence by the movement of water plant life as it negotiates its way through the tangle of leaves and spiral shoots that aspire to reach the waters surface. Another indicator of the fishes presence is the endless signs of pin prick bubbles that can be witnessed on flat calm days as the fish forages for food at the bottom of the lake. I am very fortunate to live in an area surrounded by smaller lakes that support good numbers of this hard fighting species and earlier this summer I was fortunate enough to be accompanied on a tench catching foray by my life long friend Mike Steward, a none angler but a pretty keen amateur photographer. Mike travels over on a yearly visit from his home town, Addlestone in the fair county of Surrey. He has a penchant for Irish Guinness so early morning starts are out

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of the question. Tench do tend to feed early or late so our 10.30am start was to make their capture just that little bit more of a task. There is a tiny lake of about 2 acres not ten minutes from my back door. It is one of the most beautiful locations that I know, shrouded in trees, lily fringed, mainly sheltered from the elements and of course having that basic ingredient, lots of quality fish. There is always a downside to everything and the approach to the lake crosses a bog field which would challenge a Sherman tank. I guess on retrospect this is why the lake remains virtually unvisited and also adds to its mystique. Travelling light with just my 15ft carbon coarse rod, a landing net and keep net plus bait consisting of red maggots, sweetcorn and ground bait I made a cautious approach to the waters edge. Mike followed on with cameras at the ready. My first ask was to introduce loose offerings. This consisted of several balls of ground bait, (finely ground bread wetted to hold it together) plus a liberal amount of corn and maggots. Plumbing the depth just past the lillies showed I had 10ft of water before me. I decided to fish a straight peacock quill float. My line was of 4.5lbs breaking strain and I placed on the


The Fascination of Summer Tench business end a size 12 hook. My first line of attack was four maggots on the hook and as it settled just over the margins the float almost immediately slid under. Within seconds I had landed one of the fabulously marked golden rudd that forage the lake, hungry for anything that is on offer. An hour on and a succession of rudd between 4oz and just under a pound were taken almost every cast. My companion, now getting a little restless then asked the question, ‘When are you going to catch something that pulls back a bit.’ As I tried to explain that even though not of specimen size, rudd are most sought after by coarse anglers and the very fact that they are prettier than any artist could ever emulate on canvas, As I spoke I noticed a steady stream of bubbles travelling across from my left and stop directly over where I had put my free offerings. I watched, semi amazed as the water in front of me began to resemble my bathroom jacuzzi. Baiting up with two grains of corn I cast over the ever increasing bubbles. The float cocked and settled. There it sat for several minutes. It then lifted a little before very very slowly going under. I lifted into the fish to feel a very stubborn resistance. Whatever it was nodded its head and then shot off across the lake like a world war two torpedo. This is no time for the faint hearted as bully tactics now come into play. If you allow a big fish to give you the run around more often than not it will bury itself into the watery undergrowth never to be seen along with hook and line. It can be a toss up whether the line holds or the fish gives in.

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Either way if pressure is not brought to bare on the power filled fish, the situation is easily lost. Not this time however as within minutes the dark olive fish nestled in my waiting landing net. ‘That was very impressive and what a fabulous fish,’ said my friend as he clicked away with his camera. I placed the fish into the waiting keep net and recast over the same spot. To my total amazement within a minute the float once again slid out of sight. Once again I struck into the bottom of the lake. Nothing moved. After several seconds the ‘bottom’ moved slowly to my right. It then veered left and set off across the lake heading for the far bank. ‘What the ‘flipping’ hell is that,’ my companion asked. ‘Hopefully, in time you will see,’ was my reply. The fish, to my advantage decided to fight from clear water some 30 yards out into the lake. Its powerful surges always heading for the opposite shore line, taking line and then, I managed to retrieve a little back. After what felt like an age but in reality just several minutes the fish began to tire, just a little at first and then its diving lunges became noticeably less as I gained line and the fish stayed deep but under my rod tip. She then appeared on the surface flipping her huge tail in such a way that both angler and photographer were drenched in water. Mike was so startled that he managed to release his Wellington boots from the oozing mud and visibly leaped back two paces. The fish made another furtive pass and as she did so I gathered her into the waiting landing net. Mike was quick to comment that the fish only just fitted into it and as I fed it back the handle to which the net was attached curved over in a semi arc. I never carry scales but on this occasion regretted not doing so. Mike removed from his camera bag a tape measure. The fish, from nose to fork of tail measured 24 and a half inches in length. Round it’s girth measured a similar distance. I think by far my biggest Irish tench. My camera wielding companion was so suitably impressed that he offered to buy me several pints of the finest. Who was I to argue. Geoff Cooper

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A Look at Glennoo Field Sports

Glennoo .. a very modern field sports business. “Mcavity, Mcavity, there’s no-one like Mcavity’ So goes Lloyd Webber’s lyrics. After my trip to the high and rugged wilderness that straddles the borders between Tyrone, Fermanagh and Monaghan I heard myself muttering ‘Glennoo, Glennoo, there’s no-one like Glennoo” Maybe its a catchy name or just madness creeping up on me. Anyway looking on the map we can find a Glennoo mountain, a Glennoo lough and even a Glennoo bridge which is an impressive array of offerings. So too is the business that has used this little known area both as its namesake and as the centre of a very modern, yet traditional, game shooting and fishing business. Like its namesake, Glennoo has three main strings to its bow. Their main business comprises a traditional rough shoot showing partridge in a beautiful mountain valley with pheasants lower down in hedges and rushes amidst derelict farms and heather clad bogs. Secondly, Glennoo Shoot can offer some very challenging deer stalking for Fallow and Sika in woodland and remote out farms spread across 20,000 acres. The third leg of their business is only just coming on stream (forgive the pun) and is the culmination of three years hard work but we can announce that Glennoo Fisheries is now a reality and will offer a unique game and pike angling portfolio that is not only new but likely to be unrivalled in these islands for its all round quality and diversity. Now we all know that no cat functions to its very best on three legs so the team at Glennoo are working hard on putting the finishing touches to a fourth leg for the business. We can reveal that Glennoo is close to finalising a training and tuition wing that can offer both accredited courses and basic tuition

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on an array of disciplines connected to shooting and fishing skill sets. Not bad for two lads from Tyrone who bumped into each other at a wedding in Monaghan and began thinking how a vast and beautiful area could be put to good use. Nowadays Tom Woods, a master angling coach accredited by the elite APGAI-Ireland and the American FFF and Damian McElholm, a deer stalking coach and assessor with the British Deer Society (BDS) still strive to improve their game business but also have the day job of actually running the many wings of Glennoo. Damian looks after the marketing and training side as well as the deer stalking and Tom runs the actual shoot and the fishing business but rather than seeing themselves as gamekeepers or ghillies the Glennoo boys prefer to class themselves as ‘game guides’ whose main role is to satisfy their clients’ wants and needs and indeed to surpass these…customer service has come to the field at last! As Damian says “Look any eejit can get a bunch of lads to come to their shoot or fishery once but to get the same lads to come back again is the trick and if you can get them to bring their friends then believe me you’re doing more things right than wrong”. Of course the other trick is to identify and meet a unique market need. Glennoo realised that the marketplace for shooting and fishing trips is changing. New entrants to the market, beginners with limited experience, the “golf society” type of outing with a bunch of friends out for a bit of craic, all create a different type of field sports person to the one stereotype we have become used to down the years. Then there is the impact of a recession versus the rising cost of driven shooting and fishing famous salmon beats. People all over are taking stock and questioning the existing system. Tom put it nicely in his blunt style “Boys looking for a day’s shooting or fishing want quality over quantity, at a price that


A New Kid on the Block they can comfortably afford with no sneaky extras. They want a day they can share with their friends and go away with good memories” So do they do what they say on the tin? I had a good look around the entire operation including the simulated deer stalking set up which was being laid out when I visited in June. Now, obviously, I could not sample the bird shooting but I was able to speak to some of last year’s guests and like Damian said they have all booked to come back. Jack Gilliland was one of the first to try Glennoo Shoot in their baptism season in 2009/10 and from a seasoned veteran of Scottish and Irish shoots his opinion is high praise indeed. ”Wonderful, unique, no ferry, no rip off, beautiful, beautiful scenery and lovely farmers and locals. Shooting partridge on the river valley out in those mountains was spectacular and will live in my memory until I have none!” So what is so different? Well for a start its all walked up and its not a case of plundering through manicured game crops teeming with resident birds and shooting 30 birds by 11.00am and then what? “More birds Sir?” The standard package at Glennoo Shoot is based on a group of 5 friends shooting 5/6 birds each for a cost of £120 per man. You can arrange something different and you can mix partridge and pheasant if you wish. In fact you can do anything you want and they will even accommodate single guns just wanting a wee quiet day’s shooting around the outskirts with a dog. The shooting hut, where you can eat your sandwich, is a lovely old turf shed reminiscent of the 18th century when it was first built and there is a fire and hot drinks available. Apart from the let days for parties of guns, Glennoo Shoot offers something that I think is truly unique in the commercial shooting world. The lads call this their FTR packages. This stands for ‘Free To Roam’. Glennoo Shoot actually covers an enormous amount of ground including grouse moors, woodland and small farms which is ideal for rough shooting and deer stalking. Before Glennoo Shoot the area was hunted lightly for the abundant populations of woodcock, snipe, grouse and deer. The lads have banned any grouse shooting as no –one knows the population and conservation dynamics. They describe the FTR concept as like being in a local gun club but with only 12 members, no work parties, no vermin, no feeding rota and two full time game keepers. For £400 a season this is cheaper than most gun clubs! Each FTR area is in excess of 1000 acres and there are 250 game birds released plus an abundance of snipe, woodcock or wild duck depending on the specific area. There are 4 separate FTR areas within Glennoo at present but most of these are filled already with about 4 spaces still open as we go to press. The deer stalking is set against wonderful wooded and mountain scenery and is a true challenge for the lowland stalker. The lads don’t believe in trophy hunting so no trophy

fees are charged although good bucks are left in peace. They limit the cull figure to 15 animals on Glennoo but they do have other ground. “Deer stalking in Northern Ireland on a commercial basis is very limited “ says Damian “and we could sell this many times over but we do try and share it around, particularly for new comers, and we operate a fair charge system”. Glennoo Shoot is also experimenting with a sort of FTR package for deer stalkers but this is limited to 3 only experienced stalkers and should cost around £800. It is advisable to ring about availability and conditions though. Glennoo Fisheries has just launched its portfolio and plans for the 2011 season. Full details will appear on the new Glennoo website (www.glennooshoot.com) over the coming months as each part of their angling jigsaw falls into place. What I can tell you is that Glennoo Fisheries will concentrate on providing visiting anglers with the very best of game angling for trout and salmon as well as pike. Their philosophy is to have well stocked waters that are fished lightly and in most cases are new waters to the day ticket visitor. As an example they have secured and stocked two beautiful and prolific upland loughs on the Tyrone /Fermanagh border, one teeming with good sized rainbows and the other with wild brown trout. It’s all ‘catch and release’ and our few hours on the boat yielded an incredible 18 good sized trout to the two rods…quite impressive. One really stand out fishery for me was the limestone lakes up at Cashlinney near Pettigo in Donegal with an on site farmhouse let with excellent accommodation and four beautiful limestone loughs brimming with wee brown trout up to one pound in weight…idyllic for those wanting to really escape frpom the madhouse for a few days. Also joining the portfolio is a wonderful stretch of the Glennelly River in Tyrone, famous for its salmon and sea trout runs and set against some of the most rugged and breath taking scenery in the Sperrin Mountains…truly magnificent. And the list goes on….dry fly water, tumbling trout streams and some of the most famous salmon beats on the rivers and tributaries of the Foyle system. It’s a little known or at least little publicised fact that the Foyle system salmon catches far exceed the famous Scottish river returns year after year. Catch returns for the Foyle system are currently at a recent high with the removal of the salmon drift nets. More than that, the legendary white trout (sea trout) is beginning to return to the system in decent numbers and sizes and this has to be the pinnacle for the fly fisher…a dark night’s fishing for the silvery seat trout…lovely. There are lots of other spectacular and innovative fisheries being developed by the Glennoo team but they have committed me to silence until the full package has been agreed, which should be by the start of November. You can find the link from www.

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Glennoo Shoot glennooshoot.com in due course, which will remain the point of contact until the new website comes on stream. One plan I can reveal is that Glennoo Fisheries intends to operate a version of their successful FTR package on their fisheries as well. At this stage it would appear that they will be in a position to offer a package of top class trout, salmon and pike angling to a limited number of rods (maximum 12) for a set fee and this allows the members to fish any of the designated waters throughout the year. This would be a unique and desirable package for the true angling nut! On the training and tuition front Damian gave me a brief outline of the Glennoo strategy. “Tom and I have always been involved with formal training in deer management and angling courses both for adults and young folk. Some of this is accredited so the recipient actually receives a recognised credit or qualification and a lot is just for the personal betterment of an individual’s own skills and knowledge” It was whilst reviewing one of these courses that the two lads began to identify the large gaps in training and tuition that existed between what field sports wanted, or in some cases needed and what was available. It seems that there are many hunting, shooting & fishing folk who want to improve their skills in areas ranging from deer stalking, rifle shooting, butchery & gralloching to casting, fly tying and boating skills. “Strange nothing exists? “ I innocently asked. “Why strange” replied Damian “These types of training needs can only really be delivered in the field and more often than not on a one to one basis. Therefore the standard training industry model of 10-15 persons in front of a PowerPoint presentation cannot cater for them. We can as we have the time, the ground (or water) and the skills and qualifications to deliver something that folk

cont

can relate to, enjoy and prove themselves against”. For this very reason Glennoo has no set syllabus on these subject areas other than a broad set of indicative training scenarios and it is up to each prospective student to specify their own training needs and Glennoo can then design a training course to deliver against this. I tried the simulated deer stalk which was so like the real thing as to be rather spooky. The deer were painted wooden cut outs but you get so wrapped up in finding them before the “bolt line” is passed and then trying to work out a stalking plan and find a shooting point you quite forget its an exercise. Very, very enjoyable. So what’s next for the Glennoo team? ‘Nothing’ roars Tom ‘too much to do as it is’. Damian agrees but adds ‘There’s always things to improve on, we’re currently sorting out our new website, developing an accommodation package with Blessingbourne Estate who have some wonderful multi occupancy apartments that are ideal for shooting and fishing parties, plus looking at the gaps in the accredited side of shooting and fishing training mainly for those working in the industry. We are interested in professional training standards for guides, coaches and for fishery managers be they club or estate based or indeed employed by statutory agencies of state. Our shoots, fisheries and general countryside are still in relatively good shape when compared to other parts of these islands. It is up to all of us to maintain and develop these by equipping and training good people to manage these facilities. If we don’t they will be exploited by the greedy and careless and will disappear. We can preach about this or take a lead by doing it right and offering to teach others through the lessons we learn. That’s what Glennoo is doing” So maybe my muttering muse is not so, far off the mark after all….. “Glennoo , Glennoo, there’s no-one like Glennoo” You can contact Glennoo Shoot by email at info@ glennooshoot.com or by calling Tom Woods on 07743 550804 or Damian McElholm on 07808 096472 Lyall Plant Chief Executive Countryside Alliance Ireland

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How to Lobby your TD or MLA A guide to a successfull lobbying meeting with your TD, MP or MLA

notepad and pen to write down any important points for reference.

Attending the surgery of your TD, MP or MLA is the most powerful way of making them aware of important campaigns, enabling pressing issues to be taken up in the Dáil or the Assembly much more efficiently. Most TDs, MPs and MLAs hold surgeries where constituents can meet them face-to-face from 2 to 4 times a month. Sometimes notices of surgeries appear in local newspapers, but if not, you can contact your TD, MP or MLA directly to book your appointment in advance.

2. Be direct Introduce yourself and what you are there to discuss. State your concerns clearly, countering any opposing points that they may make. Do not become emotional – you will make a stronger argument by being calm and reasonable throughout.

Five Steps to Success 1. Preparation is key Make a list of questions/topic areas that you want to discuss with your elected representative. Go armed with facts and figures to support your argument. You should also take a

3. Listen and respond constructively Once you have made your position, allow your TD, MP or MLA to present you with his/hers. Listen carefully for areas of agreement and disagreement, always be positive and try to ask questions that will probe their personal viewpoint rather than that of their party. 4. Be aware of time Stick to the issue and try not to get sidetracked into general debate - you will have a limited amount of time with him/her and it is important to make sure you get across all the points you wish to make. 5. At the end of the meeting and beyond… Thank them for the meeting, summarise your discussion and outline the steps they can take going forward. Let them know that they can contact you in the future to discuss the issue further. Follow up the meeting by writing a thank you letter, summarising your visit and any actions that your TD, MP or MLA has offered to take on your behalf. You could also contact them again to see what progress has been made. This will also help to keep the issue fresh in their mind. On the next few pages you will find all the information required to formulate a cohesive argument to defend your rural activity.

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Notes for Lobbying The Economic Impact of a Ban to Hunting with Hounds It is difficult to estimate the exact impact on Northern Ireland’s economy that a ban on hunting with hounds would entail. There are a large number of industries that would either be directly or indirectly affected. Firstly, there are the people directly involved in hunting with hounds. There are 17 hunting packs in Northern Ireland, 14 mounted and 3 foot packs. The mounted hunts have an average of 3 full time employees each; 42 employees collectively. This equates to approximately £420,000 per annum in earnings for hunt employees alone. Each mounted hunt will have an average of 2 hunt horses and 40 hounds. The horses are priced at approximately £1,800 each, which will be placed back into the economy. The hunt will employ the services of a farrier (at £50 per set of shoes), a veterinary surgeon (for the horses and hounds), a feed merchant (for the horses and hounds), an insurance company (for animals, employees, members and grounds/ buildings) and various saddleries. There are approximately 800 members of hunts in Northern Ireland. For these mounted hunts, they have an average of 2 horses each. Again, they employ the services of farriers, vets, feed merchants, saddleries and insurance companies. For every member that has a horse, transport is needed. Therefore horsebox and horse-lorry suppliers will be badly affected, as well as the local fuel suppliers and mechanics. Secondly, we have the thoroughbred industry in Northern Ireland. Hunts throughout Northern Ireland hold race meetings: ‘point-to-points’. These have been described as “the lifeblood of the racing industry in Ireland.” There are nine point-to-point courses in Northern Ireland; races are held either once or twice a season at each course. They generate an average turnover of £10,000 per meeting. To run a horse at one of the race meetings they need to have obtained a ‘Hunter Certificate’, these cost £50 each and there were 3750 issued throughout Ireland and 540 in Northern Ireland in the 09/10 season. In Northern Ireland there are 44 restricted or fully licensed trainers. These are people who earn their income purely from training horses for point-to-points or the racecourse. The majority of trainers in Ireland think very highly of pointto-points; Ballymena trainer, Ian Ferguson had 58 runners at point-to-points in the 09/10 season. There are many people not involved with horses that obtain revenue from point-to-points; ice cream vans, mobile fast food outlets, race-card printers, bookmakers, loud speaker suppliers, local bars, restaurants and accommodation. Thirdly, if hunting is banned how long will it be before National Hunt racing is banned? In Northern Ireland we have two successful racecourses, one at a Grade 1 standard. Over 5,000 people attended the last meeting in Downpatrick

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Racecourse, at an average of £8 entrance fee; this creates revenue of £40,000. Fourthly, we have the very successful horse export industry in Northern Ireland. Ireland and Northern Ireland are world renowned for their breeding of both thoroughbred and sport horses. Point-to-points are vital for the breeding and training aspects of the sport. Many horses that start their racing life at point-to-points graduate to the highest echelons of National Hunt racing, both in Ireland and the UK, for example ‘Looks Like Trouble’ who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2000 was bred in Northern Ireland. Point-to-point horses are important in terms of the continuing worldwide reputation of Irish horses. The sale and export of these horses is the main income of the majority of horse breeders. Without the overseas interest this industry would be negatively and irreversibly affected. The Economic and Social Impact of the ‘Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill’ There are 318 ASSI’s in Northern Ireland. This means that if shooting and fishing were prohibited in these areas the whole of Northern Ireland would be included. Shooting In Northern Ireland alone there are 2,100 full time employees in the shooting industry. There are a significant number of gun dealers in NI that receive revenue from people purchasing guns, cartridges and other equipment. With a collective number of 88,000 guns and 60,000 firearm certificates, at £50 each, in Northern Ireland, this equates to a significant income. Shooting provides a solitary income and lifeline for many large estates. The upkeep of these can be expensive but with organised shoots taking place in the grounds it is possible to sustain them. Shoots are also a key to keeping past traditions alive. We live in an environment which can sustain wildlife such as pheasant and deer; and therefore should embrace this and be grateful of the culinary delights that shooting can provide. The majority of Northern Ireland’s conservation is undertaken by shooting and hunting clubs. Approximately 990,000 hectares are managed by the clubs. £10m is spent on habitat improvement and wildlife management each year and equates to 640 full time jobs in conservation. This is undertaken by the shooting community and is done with no expense to the government. Shooting in Northern Ireland contributed a huge £45m to the economy in 2006. In this current economic climate can we really afford to let that go? Fishing/ Angling Angling in Northern Ireland is a tradition that dates back to the 15th Century. There are an estimated 30,000 people in


Notes for Lobbying Northern Ireland that participate in some form of angling. In 2005 Pricewater Cooper undertook a survey that highlighted the many advantages of angling in Northern Ireland. Firstly, we have the economic impact of angling. This can be divided into two sections: Northern Ireland residents and visitor/tourist anglers. In 2005 the aggregate gross expenditure contribution of Northern Ireland resident anglers was £39.3m, and the gross expenditure contribution of visitor/ tourist anglers totalled £3.5m. This equated to an economic benefit of £20.5m arising from the presence of recreational angling in Northern Ireland in 2005. The economic benefit of visitor/tourist angling in 2005 was valued at £1.8m. There are in excess of 420 angling destinations in Northern Ireland open to tourists and fishing equated to 3% of activities undertaken by tourists in 2008. Northern Ireland is respected as one of the best places in Europe to fish. Therefore if angling is prohibited, tourism in Northern Ireland will undoubtedly suffer. In Fermanagh Lakeland alone, where angling is increasingly popular, tourism was estimated to bring in £36.7m in the 2007 period. By 2015 it is estimated that there will be an average of 2,000 full time employees involved directly in angling in Northern Ireland; there were 778 in 2005. Secondly, there is the social and environmental impact of angling in Northern Ireland. Angling involves a broad social collaboration of people. This includes a mixture of religious communities. All levels of socio economic status are welcomed by angling clubs and destinations. Angling offers a range of fishing experiences with a corresponding range of cost. There is a broad range of age groups involved in angling. It has been proven in England that angling can encourage youth offenders to divert away from crime and anti-social behaviour. In England, of 660 youths that partook in a police angling scheme 98% are still fishing and not one has reoffended. Angling can encourage social interaction. Throughout Northern Ireland there are 27 disabled access fisheries. Angling can have a significant benefit on interaction skills, particularly in the disabled. There are many health benefits related to angling; it is classified as outdoor recreation. It can relieve stress and promote relaxation. Stress related problems have risen in the last decade; therefore activities that promote relaxation can only take pressure off the N.H.S. 83% of anglers have reported they felt angling had a positive impact of their health. Anglers have made a positive impact on the environment in Northern Ireland. The waterways are monitored and any signs of pollution are reported. Private fisheries and angling clubs have been proactively involved in the development of nursery areas which nurture fish and other wildlife. This has been achieved through funding from the sale of licenses. For

as long as anglers wish to fish, these environments will be properly maintained and conserved. The Impact of the Welfare of Animals Bill Tail docking in working dogs is an integral part of their working lives. The docking of dogs’ tails is a practice which has been carried out for centuries in order to avoid tail damage, for hygiene and other reasons. Today there are over fifty traditionally docked breeds which are recognised by the Kennel Clubs. Docking, they say, is a perfectly humane procedure when properly carried out, and one, which prevents far more distress than it causes. It is, like neutering, simply a practical animal management technique which should remain available to dog breeders and owners. A number of working gundog breeds have to hunt game through heavy vegetation and thick brambles, where their fast tail action can easily lead to torn and bleeding tails which are painful and extremely difficult to treat. Docking the end of the tail eliminates the risk of injury. Since docking was banned in Sweden in 1989, there has been a massive increase in tail injuries amongst previously docked breeds. Within the 50 undocked Pointer litters registered in that year with the Swedish Kennel Club, 38% of dogs suffered tail injury before they were 18 months old and in 1991, the number of individuals with tail injures had increased to 51% of the group. Since the tail docking ban was introduced in Scotland on 30th April 2007, approximately 16,000 dogs suffered tail injuries in a period of one year. There was also an alarming number that had to undergo adult tail amputation; circa 5,000 in a period of one year. The most common type of tail injuries reported was lacerations and bleeding. 44.3% of the tail injuries reported in a study by Diesel et al were recurrent injuries. This shows an agreement with anecdotal evidence that suggests that tail injuries are very difficult to treat, often resulting in many treatment attempts before finally having to amputate the tail. In the same study, almost 1/3 of tail injuries requiring veterinary treatment resulted in amputation. The majority of breeders used the technique known as “banding”, in which a ligature, normally an orthodontic band, was placed over the end of the puppies tail at 24-96 hours old. This effectively cuts off the blood supply to the end of the tail, which comes away within 3 days. Docking is carried out when puppies are between 2 and 5 days old. Their eyes are not yet open and long experience indicates that carried out correctly, the procedure causes no pain or discomfort. Indeed, some puppies which are docked whilst they are asleep do not even wake up. After docking, puppies will immediately return to their dam to feed, and there is no evidence that development or weight gain is in any way arrested by the docking

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Notes for Lobbying procedure. Nor does a dog which has been docked as a puppy have any problems with balance or communication. If, however, tail damage occurs during adulthood and docking has to be carried out for therapeutic reasons, normally under anaesthetic, a dog can be seriously distressed and the healing process can be painful and protracted. Statistics - Northern Ireland Equine Mounted Hunts and Beagling There are 17 registered hunting packs in Northern Ireland; 3 Beagle packs and 14 mounted ones. 34 full time employees 900 hounds Nearly 1000 members Including members and their families/followers; 1703 people hunt regularly and own 2452 horses ‘primarily kept and ridden for hunting’ 2,822 full or part time employees work with their horses Foot Harrier Clubs 13 packs Foot harrier participants 72 club members Collectively own 390 hounds 330 persons regularly participating Point-to-points 9 point-to-point courses in Northern Ireland 20 fixtures held in Northern Ireland in the 09/10 season £1,500 for the landowner for each use of their ground for a point-to-point 518 qualified riders, who mostly ride in point-to-points and National Hunt flat races There are 44 fully licensed or restricted trainers in Northern Ireland 540 Hunter Certificates issued in Northern Ireland during the 09/10 season at £50 each (3750 issued throughout Ireland) 2593 entries for point-to-points in Northern Ireland in the 09/10 season at £35/€50 each General - Equine Industry

Angling Northern Ireland is described as “one of the finest places for angling in Europe”. There are an estimated 30,000 anglers in Northern Ireland There are more than 420 angling destinations open to tourists In 2009 there were 1,918,000 out of state visits to Northern Ireland; generating a revenue of £337m Fishing equated to 3% of activities undertaken by visitors to Northern Ireland in 2008 Fermanagh Lakeland was estimated to bring in £36.7m through tourism in the 2007 period In 2005 the aggregate gross expenditure contribution of visitor/tourist anglers to Northern Ireland totalled £3.5m, equating to an economic benefit of £1.8m In 2005 the aggregate gross expenditure contribution of Northern Ireland resident anglers was £39.3m, equating to an economic benefit of £20.5m In 2005 there were 778 full time employees involved in Northern Irish angling 20,527 resident game angling licence holders in Northern Ireland in 2005 4,363 resident coarse licence holders in Northern Ireland in 2005 In 2006 there were 18,250 full time employees in the angling industry in the UK The annual spend by anglers in the UK was estimated at £1.2billion in 1991 Tail Docking Post tail docking in Scotland there have been 16,000 tail injuries and 5,000 adult tail amputations in a one year period. Only veterinary surgeons can carry out tail docking. Adult tail amputation through injury can be distressing for the dog. In 2010 1/3 tail injuries requiring veterinary treatment resulted in amputation.

Total horse and pony population in Northern Ireland exceeds 35,500 Labour valued at £54m and 5657 full time employees 30,000 acres of land used at a value of £148.5m Value of spend for services and products is approximately £110m

Tail docking, in the dog population studied by Diesel et al, is responsible for a 12% reduction in tail injuries.

Shooting

The above facts relate to Northern Ireland only to combat the threats that are currently facing our members in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

There are 2,100 full time employees in Northern Ireland 60,000 firearm certificates issued at a value of £50 each There are a significant number of gun dealers in Northern Ireland.

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Shooting is involved in the management of two thirds of the rural land area, approximately 990,000ha. In 2006 the total contribution to the Northern Ireland economy through shooting related expenditure was £45m

If you need any further information please contact our office at Larchfield on 028 9263 9911 or Courtlough Shooting Grounds on 01 690 3610.


Dog Establishments Bill 2009 The Dog Breeding Bill will come into force on 1st January 2011. Greyhounds will be subject to the same regime but they will be dealt with under the Greyhound Industry Act of 1958. 

stakeholders and have an assurance in writing from An Taoiseach that they will be consulted as stakeholders. 

HAI and FACE will be consulted in connection with all regulations under the Bill and there will be a review of the legislation after one year. 

A. On 1st January 2011 with a phasing in period of six months. 

Specific Points 

A.  Yes, after one year and this review will include hunting hounds. 

Q. Are hunt kennels covered by the Act A. Yes, if they have more than six bitches capable of being bred and are over six months.  Q. What is the position if the hunt kennels has six or less bitches? A. Then it does not fall under the Act.  Q. If the hunt kennels is within the Act, what do I have to do? A. You will have to make an application to be registered with your local authority.  Q. Will I be inspected? A. Possibly, to ensure that your kennels are in accordance with the HAI Guidelines for hunt kennels. Q. Will I have to pay any fees? A. No. All that are affiliated to HAI and FACE are exempt from fees.  Q. If I am under the Act do I have to micro-chip? A. No. But you must elect to have some method of traceability either tattooing or micro-chipping. Whichever method you choose to adopt it must be recorded in the central database that will be set up and held by HAI or FACE.  Q. If I decide to use micro-chipping, do I have to employ a vet? A. No as long as the person inserting the micro-chip has received instruction. Q. If I have a mature hound who is not tattooed do I have to tattoo him A. This is an issue that is being discussed as there may be a welfare issue due to the thickness of the ear. Q. Will HAI, FACE and hunting people have any input into regulations under the Act.

Q. When does the legislation come in?

Q. Will there be a review of the legislation?

Q. Will I be inspected by a dog warden who is an ‘anti?’ A. It is not possible to exclude a warden just because of his/hers views or for instance membership of the ISPCA. However, the regulations will have to ensure that the dog warden service is proper and will guard against vexatious behaviour.  Q. Who will do the inspections? A. It is agreed that during the consultation period and before the regulations are introduced this issue will be discussed. Q. What can the dog warden do after inspection? A. If action is required the warden cannot initiate any action himself. He must revert to the County Veterinary Officer before any action is taken.  Q.  Will details of the address of my kennels be available to the public? A. There will only be limited information available to the public and this issue will be further discussed with HAI and FACE.  Q. Will I have to put a sign on my kennels? A. The size of any sign and where it will be located will be the subject of discussion at the consultation stage.  Q. How will any changes to the Act be dealt with? A. There will be consultation with H.A.I. and FACE prior to any new regulations being introduced and the Minister will be required to get the agreement of the Dáil. More information will be forthcoming and we will continue to support RISE! and fight for country sports in Ireland. Thank you all for supporting the RISE! campaign over the past year and we look forward to your continuing support in the future. There is strength in numbers and only together can me make a difference.

A. Yes. The above organisations are recognised as

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Fieldsports Critics Urged to Take a Wider View Recently Countryside Alliance Ireland staged a series of countrywide meetings to discuss attacks on fieldsports through legislation being put forward in the Assembly. This includes amendments to the Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill, tabling of amendment 23, hare legislation, use of snares, Dogs (Amendment) Bill and many other issues which are illconceived by those who don’t have a good knowledge of the countryside and wildlife in general. A similar situation is occurring in Eire, this time being instigated mainly by the Green Party. Despite popular opinion in towns and cities, fieldsports play a very considerable part in the conservation of our wild animals and their habitats as well as making a valuable contribution to the rural economy through jobs, tourism and retail sales. Whilst it is very understandable that many people may not agree with animals being killed for sport and food, especially those who are unfamiliar with the countryside, and it is a culture shock for those accustomed to seeing food only in a supermarket, it is very important that the general public understand how these things work so they may make a balanced and reasoned judgement themselves.

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of wildlife management is predator control. Unfortunately human manipulation of the environment has favoured some animal and bird populations more than others and to preserve our biodiversity and allow more wildlife to thrive it is necessary to control some of the predators. Fox, mink, grey crows and magpies can do untold damage to other animal and bird populations, even the grey squirrel raid our songbird nests of eggs and young. The Glenwherry Moorland Project is probably the most recent of hundreds of projects across the UK which demonstrate how habitat enhancement and predator control can greatly benefit not only populations of gamebirds (in this case Red Grouse), but also declining populations of waders such as curlew, lapwing and snipe which breed in this habitat and also Irish Hares. For a brief idea of the financial benefits of fieldsports, the PriceWaterhouse Coopers Report for DCAL 2007 estimates the value of angling to the economy is in the region of £40 million and supports 780 full time jobs.

The aim of fieldsports is to harvest a surplus, no-one wants to kill their own sport so it’s important to know that wildlife is managed rather than just haphazard and random exploitation. In trying to preserve the quarry species, sportsmen also help to create conditions whereby many other species can survive and populations can thrive.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development report on hunting estimates spending on equine services and products to be in the region of £110 million per annum, value of stock £108 million, value of buildings and equipment £121 million, value of land used by equine industry £150 million, not to mention the jobs which the sport provides. Shooting also makes a huge contribution to the economy both in terms of retail trade and tourism with game shooting attracting clients from the UK and Europe.

Fishermen help to maintain healthy river environments by monitoring water quality and improving habitat which in turn provides a healthy environment for the invertebrates, fishlife, birdlife (Dippers, Kingfishers etc.) and mammals such as otters and bats. Flightponds for duck shooting provide valuable wetland habitat for rapidly declining amphibian populations of frogs and newts as well as wildfowl, waders, migrant songbirds etc.

So although everyone may not agree on the issues involved in fishing, shooting and hunting etc, if we try to take a look at the wider picture and analyse the facts then it becomes apparent that fieldsports are of great benefit to wildlife; were it not for fieldsports much of our prime wildlife habitat would be lost to agriculture and development and were it not for predator control then much of our wildlife would simply cease to flourish.

Shooting estates and gun club grounds provide areas where the wildlife habitat is preserved and enhanced. These areas such as woodland , thick hedgerows and marsh and scrubland would otherwise be lost to agriculture. These areas not only provide cover and food for gamebirds but also a whole plethora of wildlife from insects such as butterflies, small mammals, hares, songbirds etc right up to birds of prey at the top of the food chain.

In the face of pressures such as pollution, modern farming practices and development, sportsmen and women are working hard to improve wildlife populations so there is a surplus to harvest and this benefits the entire wildlife population, not just game species.

Food provided for pheasants also supports populations of smaller birds such as finches, thrushes and so on, especially in harsh winter conditions when natural food is scarce. Grounds preserved for hare coursing provided a sanctuary and stronghold for populations when numbers were in a general decline, thought to be through modern farming practices. Preserving wildlife habitat is crucial to maintaining our biodiversity.

Conservation is a vital part of fieldsports and fieldsports play a vital part in conservation of our wildlife which is part of our natural heritage in the North and South of Ireland. By providing an environment for pheasants, grouse and wildfowl, fieldsports enthusiasts are allowing all our native species to flourish and this rich biodiversity needs to be cherished and nurtured to withstand the pressures imposed by modern society. So, before passing judgement on the guy you see over the fields with his gun and springer spaniel it might be wise to consider the overall benefit of his sport and how it benefits our wildlife.

Fieldsports and conservation go hand-in-hand and part

Michael Martin


The Fox and the Orange me that I maybe had dropped it at the ‘Dam’ the previous night in the dark. It was late and being the only one about and, as anyone who has been out in the wee small hours in an isolated and very quiet place knows, it can be a bit eerie, I was wasting no time in packing my gear away. After another sweep of  the house I decided to call Billy and go fishing that evening just on the off-chance we would find it. I thought it as good an excuse as any to squeeze in another hour or two chasing trout.

Just a little tale of an incident that I found quite amusing. It happened a number of years back at a place I call ‘Paradise Dam’. I am not at my best first thing in the morning and after gathering myself together I realised my mobile phone was missing. Now at that time the mobile phones were neither as sophisticated or slim as today’s and if you kept it, as I did, in my shirt breast pocket, with a cover, you’d soon realise it was missing, what with its weight and size. Starting to panic, I went through the rigmarole of looking and thinking where it would be. I got the ‘better half’ to call the number and walked round the house and garden listening but to no avail. At that stage I began to panic, which really doesn’t help matters. Going over where I had been since yesterday it dawned on

After parking and initially looking around, Billy phoned my number and lo and behold the dulcet tones of my mobile rang out. I retrieved it among brambles about ten or fifteen feet from where I had parked the previous night. Relieved, I was examining it when I noticed teeth marks, the penny started to drop and therein lies a story. For many years we have had a family of  resident foxes and some have got quite tame. In fact, early one morning I was putting my gear together, with my late Labrador Ben lying beside the car, when one came along, sat down and watched us from about ten yards. Surprisingly for Ben, he never took it under his notice and it must have sat there for the best part of ten or fifteen minutes before ambling away. I can only assume the previous night one of the foxes came across the phone, carried it away, tasted it and obviously found it not to its liking. Maybe he didn’t like the taste of  ‘orange’. ‘Ould Hand’

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BCS SPORTING/Barry Stewart Office – 0044 (0)1738 710266 / Mobile – 0044 (0)7759246731 www.scottishhuntingtours.com - Email – barry@scottishhuntingtours.com

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Woodcock Association of Ireland The association held its first public appearance at the Country Sports Game Fair held at Birr Castle Estate, Co. Offaly. We were there on invitation from Albert Titterington who allowed us a position on the Country Sports and Country Life Magazine stand. This marquee was located at the crossroads leading to the main arena area beside the Telescope and Countryside Alliance Ireland’s marquee. The chief executive of CAI, Lyall Plant, called to our stand to say hello and wish our association well over the two days of the fair, Lyall as it has turned out hails from a small village in North County Dublin called Balrothery and this is where I went to primary school, what a small world. Over the two days we had many visitors who were knowledgeable on woodcock and also many who were delighted to learn about woodcock for the first time. Many of our members called for a chat and to check on any new information on woodcock from the European prospective and of course to buy tickets for the Raffle which was held each day, for a framed print of a woodcock. This beautiful woodcock was painted by John Moore, a resident artist from Northern Ireland, this print is still available at a cost of €60 delivered to you door. The association’s position on woodcock monitoring within Ireland and our involvement with the European Federation of Woodcock Associations “FANBPO” was delivered to all who called to the stand and many people availed of the free handouts of information on woodcock. They were also deeply interested with the display of woodcock wings which showed the differences between adult and juvenile birds. Many hunters expressed their lack of knowledge on the woodcock and were delighted to have gained new information on this game bird; and many agreed to supply wings to the association in the coming season. A positive attempt to recruit new members at the fair was

undertaken and has provided a large volume of interest from those in the shooting/hunting area. Many application forms for membership were taken and we hope to have a number of new members coming on stream in the coming season. Have a look at our website www.woodcockireland.com or contact me directly for an application form to join the association at larrytaffe@eircom.net or 087 6837569. The winners of the beautiful framed woodcock prints over the two days were Mr Patrick Burns from Trim, Co. Meath on Saturday and Mr. Larry Maguire from Portlaois, Co. Laois on Sunday and we would like to thank all those who bought tickets for the prints and also to members who paid their membership fees at the fair. Hon Sec Larry Taaffe Pictured Left: Philip Lawton drawing a winner on Saturday Pictured Above: Des Crofton drawing the winner on Sunday

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Special Membership Offer

Courtlough Pre Season Offer shooting grounds

• Clay Pigeon Shooting • Archery • Target Shooting • Expert Tuition • Executive Day Packages

Courtlough Shooting Grounds are soon to have the 100ft High Tower back in action with 3 height adjustable traps so you can practice from low fast driven targets to slow high driven targets! What more practice would you need for the game shooting season!! We would like to bring to you, members of Countryside Alliance Ireland a special offer on lessons for the game season. Produce your CAI membership card at the reception on the day of your lesson and receive 20% discount. One to One, One Hour Lessons are €85 with this discount you pay just €68!! Price includes 50 clays and cartridges, and accompanied by one of Courtlough’s experienced CPSA qualified instructors. Courtlough Shooting Grounds is open 7 days a week from 10.00 am to 6.00pm.If you would like further information please contact 01-8413096.

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Tick Twister® comes to Ireland When Chris Liddle, of Kenmare, Co Kerry, began to notice that he was pulling ticks off himself on an increasingly regular basis, after walks in the country or simply walking around his garden, he asked his GP if there was a vaccination available for Lyme disease. There wasn’t, and isn’t, but his Doctor sold him a Tick Twister® which he had bought in Inverness, Scotland while on holiday. The Tick Twister® made the unpleasant and fiddly job of removing the ticks far simpler and safer. Chris had been following standard advice about smothering the tick with surgical spirit or petroleum jelly before removal; even nail varnish had been suggested. All these methods, as well as others, like burning them off with a match, are a very bad idea as they can put the tick under stress causing it to regurgitate its stomach contents into your blood stream, and that is when infections such as Lyme Disease (Borreliosis) and Tick Borne Encephalitis are transmitted, should the tick be a carrier. In fact, according to a survey published in the UK Journal, ‘Veterinary Record’, the Tick Twister® was preferred and recommended by both the authors (specialists in parasitology) and the Veterinarians who participated in the

study. This was because the Tick Twister® doesn’t compress the abdomen of the ticks and therefore minimizes the risk of transmission of pathogens (Lyme disease, Tick Borne Encephalitis). An added bonus is that if used properly the Tick Twister® also removes the mouthparts of the tick, which if broken off with tweezers or fingers and left in the skin can cause irritation for several days and may also lead to infection. Unfortunately Chris lost his Tick Twister® and was unable to buy another one in Ireland. As a shopping trip to Inverness was not an option he contacted the manufacturer and is now importing the Tick Twister® to Ireland where it will be available from Pharmacists, Vets, outdoor pursuits shops, pet groomers and agricultural cooperatives. Tick numbers are on the rise all across Europe and there is a growing pressure to make Lyme Disease a notifiable infectious disease in Ireland from groups such as Tick Talk Ireland (http://ticktalkireland.wordpress.com/ info/).

CASTLEDILLON • Quality driven Mallard • Spectacular drives • Parties of 8 guns • Bags can be tailored to suit • Back-to-back days available • Individual guns occasionally available • Accomodation and necessary licenses catered for (if required)

Tick Talk Ireland also aim to increase public awareness of the dangers of ticks and the correct and safest way to deal with them. In addition the HSPC have put together an information leaflet, outlining the dangers of ticks and how to avoid them. The leaflet is to be distributed to Coillte, the National Trails Office, National Park Visitors Centres and local authorities. The leaflet can be found by typing the following details into your web browser. http:// www.hpsc.ie/hpsc/A-Z/Vectorborne/LymeDisease/ Publications/File,1821,en.pdf So if you work in the countryside, enjoy outdoor pursuits or gardening, or own a dog, cat, horse or other livestock, you should see the Tick Twister® in action on people and pets. For a comprehensive demonstration go to http://www.otom.com/en/1how-to-remove-a-tick.php If you would like more information on the Tick Twister® or if you would like to find your nearest stockist you can contact Chris at: ticktwisterireland@hotmail. com or on

CONTACT: O7779714856 or 07714201578

086 325 3701

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