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September 2009 Volume 9, Issue 2

Emerald Newsletter

Pictured L-R: Lyall Plant Chief Executive CAI, Overall Winner Peter Hanafin (Naul Clay Pigeon Club), Mr William Maher (Thurles Clay Shooting Club) and Mr Francis Knott (Lusk Pheasant Club)


he 2009 Countryside Alliance Ireland Clay Shooting Final held at Ballinlough Game Fair in July was an outstanding success. All groups were asked to hold a qualifying competition and their best two shots travelled to Ballinlough to compete in the grand final. Each qualifying competitor was given a free family pass entry into the fair so they had their supporters cheering them on! The clay layout was designed by Courtlough Shooting Grounds with a challenging flush that was suitable for experienced game and clay shooters alike. All finalists registered in our marquee on the Sunday Morning and David Agnew our Membership Administrator escorted them throughout the day. We are pleased to announce that the overall winner with a score of 46/50 was Peter Hanafin from the Naul Clay Pigeon Club with William Maher from the Thurles Clay Shooting Club coming second with a score of 41/50 just piping Francis Knott from Lusk Pheasant Club with a score of 40/50. Lyall Plant, Chief Executive of CAI, presented Peter, William and Francis with plaques and other shooting related prizes with Peter Hanafin taking the top prize of a fully illustrated artists game book.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Message from the Chief Executive . 2 Membership Benefits ..................... 3 Want to Hear Well? Listen Good ... 4 Norman Harpur ............................. 5 Wooden Spoon for Flatcoats .......... 6 It was not a Fluke—I did Win......... 7 Hunting Round UP ........................ 8 Enigma of this Salmon Season ....... 10 Hunting News ............................... 12 Irish Ladies ―Net Gold‖ .................. 14



e have been kept busy over the summer months and in particular with the introduction of new legislation in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. In R of I, the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2009 has caused major concerns for legitimate firearm certificate holders. We have continuously lobbied to ensure that hunting and shooting would not be adversely affected and we attended all the Firearms Consultative Panel meetings to ensure our members‘ concerns were voiced within this forum. We campaigned for the person to be licensed instead of the firearm which would have meant that all your firearms would have been on one certificate and that you would have only needed to pay a single fee. However, this was unachievable due to the new European Regulations that states each firearm must be traceable from its manufacture to its destruction and that each firearm has an owner and not an owner owning a firearm. We continuously fought a fee of €60 against the Department’s vision of €100 per firearm and this was eventually fixed at €80 for a three year licence. We feel this is a win win situation for our members‘.

tasked to go back to their clubs and ranges and inform their membership of the information they had received. In NI, the new legislation prohibiting the use of lead shot on or over wetlands came into force on 1 September. We were deeply involved with the Department to formulate a practical set of guidelines, which we produced and copies were sent to all our NI members‘ in April. We also held an ―alternative to lead shot day‖ at Foymore Lodge in Dungannon to discuss the alternatives to lead shot, its implication and application for sporting purposes. Animal Welfare Legislation in Northern Ireland - we have been deeply involved throughout the consultative process on the proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Legislation in Northern Ireland and as a respondent were asked to attend a workshop in Belfast on 17 September to discuss the new proposals. We were utterly amazed at the proposals and the Department‘s intention to ban tail docking in its entirety and we will strongly oppose any action to alter the current practice. We have written to the Department re-iterating our stance and urge you to write to the Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA to voice your concerns. Please watch out for our campaign in the local press and on our website. Our campaigning slogan of ―Campaigning for the Countryside, Country Sports and Rural way of life‖ is at the heart of everything we do. Countryside Alliance Ireland is not just an organisation that represents shooting; we are an organisation that campaigns for and on behalf of all country sports which includes Hunting, Shooting, Fishing, Coursing and other related recognised activities.

The three year licence will be a new experience for many firearm holders and we are available to assist you with completion of the new application form. The Commissioner‘s guidelines have been published and these are now available to read or download from our website. Members‘ are also reminded that when they receive their extension letter to note the date of expiry. Your extension letter will also tell you that you must apply using the FCA1 form at least three months before the expiry of your extension. You may obtain the FCA1 form by visiting the Garda website at or you can download your copy at

To achieve this we have a dedicated team working tirelessly to ensure that your country pursuits and recognised activities are not threatened. However, we can only achieve this by having a strong membership base and this has been achieved by increasing our membership numbers over the past year. We hope our members‘ are fully aware of the enormous benefits that membership of Countryside Alliance Ireland offers and we would like to take this opportunity to emphasise to you the excellent country sports insurance cover and other benefits that you enjoy as part of your membership – see page 3.

Remember, you need to complete the FCA1 form for each of the firearms that you hold and the cost is €80 per application. If you would like any help or assistance please contact our office on 01 690 3610 and select option 5.

The Governments in both NI and R of I are keen to reflect that the economies are slowly recovering, although that may be debatable to many of us. However, it is worth taking time out to consider what is important to us in life and of the simple pleasures we can gain from our countryside and partaking in our country sports activities.

As part of our campaign for Target Shooting, Countryside Alliance Ireland sponsored a seminar in Mullingar for all target clubs and range owners. The Department of Justice, its staff and the Garda made presentations and gave a strong indication as to what was to come within the new legislation. Those attending the seminar were

NI office:

May I wish you all the best for the shooting and hunting seasons. Yours in sport Lyall

Countryside Alliance Ireland, The Courtyard, Larchfield Estate, Balliesmills Road, Lisburn, County Down, BT27 6XJ Tel: 028 9263 9911 Fax: 028 9263 9922 Email: Web:

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: Web:


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


Mr Paul Cran, Deputy Chairman: Mr John Clarke

Board Members:

Mr Peter Bacon, Mr Richard Johnson, Mr John McBride, Lord Meath, Mr Johnny Vance,

Chief Executive:

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




ne of the most significant benefits of membership of Countryside Alliance Ireland is the membership insurance cover provided whilst participating in a ‗Recognised Activity‘.

The current list of recognised activities as approved by the Countryside Alliance Ireland Board is as follows:Taking part legally in riding, horse drawn carriage driving, hunter trials, exercising hounds, lurcher work, whippet racing, terrier work, dog shows, hound trailing, hunting (including hunt followers), team chasing, shooting including sporting shooting, clay pigeon shooting, rifle shooting, target shooting, angling (including sea, coarse and game angling) deer stalking, falconry, ferreting, vermin control, field trials and conservation work. Countryside Alliance Ireland individual membership benefits include: Personal Accident Insurance – cover for a range of benefits including accidental death at £15,000 (£7,500 if under 19 years of age) and permanent total disablement at £30,000.

Employers‘ Liability – Limit of indemnity £10,000,000 Group Liability – Limit of indemnity £10,000,000 All landowners are indemnified under the group policy in connection with the ‗Recognised Activity‘ Guests, there is no restriction on the number of guests the group can have on any one occasion, at no extra cost. All we require is that you maintain a record of those guests and submit their names and addresses to us within 7 days of their visit on a guest registration form. We do not need to be notified in advance. Each individual within the group is also entitled to the insurance over in their own capacity carrying out any of the recognised activities. *Seven or more people form a group Additional membership benefits Two newsletters per year delivered directly to your door

Public/Products Liability – Limit of indemnity £10,000,000

Facility to publish your news and views on our website, electronic eroute and for inclusion in our newsletter

All landowners are indemnified in connection with the ‗Recognised Activity‘

Reduced price entry to the Moira and Ballinlough Game Fairs

Countryside Alliance Ireland Group* membership benefits include: Personal Accident Insurance – cover for a range of benefits including accidental death at £15,000 (£7,500 if under 19 years of age) and permanent total disablement at £30,000. Public/Products Liability – Limit of indemnity £10,000,000

Countryside Alliance Ireland car sticker and Countryside Alliance Ireland lapel badge and a special members only badge Monthly Email newsletters Game to Eat‘ leaflets on request Individual representation, advice, membership support and customer service NB: Benefits are paid in euro to R of I residents If you have any queries or indeed require any further information regarding our membership benefits please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to assist.

NI: 028 9263 9911 R of I: 01690 3610, option 5


WANT TO HEAR WELL? THEN LISTEN GOOD BY ALAN BROWN t hat th en. Bu t thankfully my disappointment was short lived as within seconds the shooting started again, this time no more than 20 yards away. I cautiously stepped out of my car and over semi-wild packs of cats eating dead crows and pigeons and peered round the corner of a shed.


t was one of the strangest first meetings I have ever had. I had just moved to a new area and as always was very keen to source out my nearest cartridge stockist – the local firearms dealer‘s premises can become every bit as much a refuge to the shooting man, as the ―local‖ can be to the ardent drinker. The bizarre events of that evening began as I returned from work – I could hear shooting and it sounded like clay shooting judging by the frequency of shots. Allowing for wind direction and sound carrying I hopped back into the motor, rolled the window down and followed my ears. I drove up and down the road a couple of times before I decided on an unlikely looking lane – there was certainly no sign or other indicator that gave any clue what might be at the end of it. As I entered the lane I got more worried – it was badly overgrown and several of the pot-holes looked like they should have had ladders affixed to the side to allow unfortunate pedestrians to escape their murky depths. My car had ―grounded‖ half a dozen times in the first twenty yards or so. But the urge of the shooting man is strong and I persevered. Despite gross protestations from the underside of my Ford, I eventually rolled, clattered and banged up to what appeared to be a disused farm-house. Drat 4

There I encountered a colossus – a huge man with wild unkempt hair and beard. To make matters worse he was wielding his semiauto with staggering precision. He was releasing clays via air release buttons under his feet and they seemed to be appearing from every conceivable orifice around. They came from many different places – the shed walls, from pits in the ground, holes in the hedge and also the odd clump of whin – yet they all had one thing in common. Within a fraction of a second of leaving the trap they were transformed into dust. ―Hello there,‖ I shouted gaining no particular response. ―HELLO,‖ I said louder. Nothing – he didn‘t even look my way. Thinking he was deep in concentration I stood and watched a little longer before plucking up the courage to move a little closer. At around 20 paces away the hairy giant spun around and bellowed ―HELLO – YOU SHOULDN‘T CREEP UP ON PEOPLE LIKE THAT. YOU SCARED ME HALF TO DEATH.‖ That makes two of us then, I thought. We started to speak and I became aware that his gaze was focussed not on my eyes, but my mouth. I again got nervous, trying to keep the film ―Deliverance‖ as far from my mind as possible. I explained I lived locally, had heard shooting and wondered if I could buy a few cartridges. The whole time, he gazed at my mouth. I was about to explain that I was happily married with kids when I realised what was going on. Much to my great relief I realised he was lip reading. ―CERTAINLY,‖ roared the bearded monster,

whose name turned out to be Sammy. ―COME INTO THE SHOP,‖ and he led me off into one of dilapidated sheds. At the back of the shed Sammy unlocked a strong-room door and we entered an Aladdin‘s Cave of shooting goodies. Feeling that I had gained some sort of control over the proceedings was very reassuring but Sammy immediately threw me when he got behind his counter, for there he lifted a huge pair of Ear Defenders and put them on! I didn‘t ask any questions but I‘m sure the look on my face told a story. I reasoned that if this man had trouble hearing me before, then I would have to up my volume considerably now. ―CAN I HAVE TWO BOXES OF 36 GRAMME FIVES‘S‖ I roared. Sammy visibly winced. He went onto explain at normal volume that years of shooting had made him partially deaf and that these ear defenders were electronic and actually could amplify the sound of the human voice while deadening the sound of gunfire. All his regular customers were aware of the situation and didn‘t bat an eye-lid. Sammy is now dead and I know he died a happy man. The memory of my first meeting with him was brought back recently as I am becoming aware that my own hearing is not what it used to be. I have a slight ringing in my left ear all the time and find it hard to make quietly spoken people out. I am also told that I have a tendency to shout unnecessarily. I wish I could blame it on industrial injury or an injury collected in ‗Nam, but alas no. The sad fact is that I am solely responsible for the downturn in my own hearing. It was not always so. Many years ago, my first forays against the rabbits on my Uncle‘s farm always saw me wearing a pair of ear defenders for tractor drivers. But as I got further into the sport it was not felt to be necessary to protect my hearing. I remember when I started wildfowling that initially it took a day for my ears to recover, then two, and finally almost a week. Then I went to a clay shoot in a local quarry run by our wildfowlers‘ club. I forgot to bring ear protection that day, as I normally would when shooting clays. The effect of the echoes from the quarry walls were devastating. I eventually volunteered to stop shooting and trap for the rest of the day but as I left the quarry, my ears were in pain. They have never been the same since. It is sad fact that damage done to ears with gunshot (or other similar loud noises) is irreversible. Each time we discharge a


shotgun or rifle without protecting our ears we make the situation worse. How many years have you been destroying your ears? People often refer to decibels when talking about loud noises – a pneumatic drill is 7580 dB, a jet aircraft taking off is 120 dB, but a shot being discharged can be anything from 140 – 180 dB. This is seriously in excess of what is safe. Some feel that wearing ear protection is a sign of weakness, not macho. I wonder how the same people will feel about wearing a hearing aid, for that is the likely outcome of their actions. Others, like me thought that


wearing ear protection applied to clay shooters but not to field shooters. In fact, I now know that shot for shot, heavier game loads are actually more damaging than lighter clay loads. Products to protect hearing vary in price greatly. They range from a few pence for the foam ones you roll between thumb and forefinger to prices normally reserved for gun purchases for top of the range custom ear moulded digital systems with inbuilt processors. The reason for difference in price is largely in attempt to allow the wearer to hear normally at reasonable decibel levels, yet block out the dangerous sounds. Which

e are an independent local store located on Main Street in Maguiresbridge Co. Fermanagh, specialising in firearms of all types inc antique firearms, black powder revolvers and black powder rifles.

ammunition by Eley, Nobel Sport, B&P and CCI with a full range of steel shot sizes in stock. Telescopic sights, electronic vermin callers, snares, traps, clay pigeon traps, clays and rifle targets are always in stock. We have access to local gunsmith repair facilities.

We also carry a large selection of shotguns by Beretta, Miroku and Browning. A wide variety of rifles such as Ruger, CZ, Anschutz and Remington are also available at competitive prices. A full range of

The home loader who reloads his own ammo is well catered for with a stock of reloading powders and primers as well as heads, and reloading tools to match.

one you go for is up to you, but it is a fool who will ignore the damage that is being done. I am as guilty as the next man, and I am becoming aware of the damage that has already been done. I‘d like to think I have another 20 years shooting left in me, but I don‘t think my hearing will last this unless I heed my own advice. The story goes that an aged English gentleman was asked how his hearing had been affected after some 50 years of shooting. His answer? Half past three. Act before it is too late.

We also have a wide range of dog cages, dog pens, dog kennels, insulated dog kennels, gardening tools and mowers especially Husqvarna Rideon mowers and chain saws as well as spare parts and provide a maintenance service. A sample of the stock is shown on our website at While our website is updated on a regular basis please contact us on 028 6772 1395 if you require any further information. 5



he Irish Flatcoated Retriever Society held a very successful gundog working test in the grounds of the home of Mr & Mrs John Agnew, near Saintfield on Saturday 15th August, raising £1230 for the charity ‗Wooden Spoon‘, (rugby‘s charity supporting disadvantaged children and young people). Despite inclement weather in the morning and many other events taking place on the day, the attendance was beyond everyone's expectations with 84 dogs taking part; which included Labradors, Flatcoated Retrievers, Springer Spaniels, Irish Water Spaniels and Golden Retrievers. The event sponsored by Calor Gas Ireland, supported by Countryside Alliance Ireland, Sneyd‘s Wonderdog Dog Food and many others including Coburns Field & Tackle, Crossgar Meat & Poultry, Saintfield Livestock Mart, and Stickmaker Lindsay Carlisle is now in its second year. It was judged by Alan Leonard, Joe 6

McGivern and Damien Newman and was carried out over three challenging tests including a long water retrieve. There were classes for preliminary, novice and open. The winners were: Preliminary: John Peach with Labrador dog ‗Glenbriar Frank‘. Novice: Charles Toal Jnr with Labrador dog ‗Paul River Lad‘. Open: The winner of the open class (pictured left) and therefore overall winner of the event was Ian Davies with his Labrador bitch ‗Gleanne Faith‘ – kennel name ‗Judy‘. The minor breeds award went to Kathy Davies with Irish Water Spaniel ‗Jewel of Curlon‘. Best performance from a Flatcoat - Nigel Carville‘s bitch ‗Astraglen Mella‘. Best Water Retrieve - Richard Magee‘s Flatcoat dog ‗Winters Late Dream‘. The scurry which ran throughout the day attracted a great deal of interest – involved two timed retrieves over a difficult course and was eventually won by 9 year old Leah Currie with her Yellow Labrador bitch ‗Sacha‘ (pictured above). The runner up in this event was a 70 year-old gentleman with his Flatcoated Retriever (aptly named ‗Skiboo‘), which emphasises the wide appeal of this sport. Bearing in mind the current recession, the organisers and supporters were delighted to raise such a creditable sum and everyone is now looking forward to the 2010 event. Bert Carlisle

―IT WAS NOT A FLUKE— I DID WIN‖ BY GEOFF COOPER Mr Lenton got great pleasure driving us across some very rough terrain as we took it in turns to lamp and then shoot. We often shot that many rabbits that they would bounce out of the back of the truck as we made our way. One night all hell broke loose as we were chased by several other very large 4 by 4's and surrounded by lads in RAF combat gear. The estate bordered the local RAF base and the lads decided to take no chances when they saw a very large beam followed by gun fire adjacent to their perimeter fence. My 'new' experiences in my new chosen place of abode were to prove not quite so hairy but never the less, for an Irish beginner somewhat daunting.

As the shooting season comes around again I cast my mind back to almost twenty years ago. I had just moved over to Ireland from Cambridgeshire and had made my formal application to join our local gun club. Indeed I had applied to join the previous year but was turned down seeing as I wasn't a permanent resident here. I had owned a house in the village for a period of time but because I wasn't domiciled here on a permanent basis I had my application rejected and I suppose quite rightly so. This time however I was accepted into the fold and the learning process of how things happened over here began. It was quickly pointed out to me that on walked up sessions under no circumstances were hen Pheasants shot. I was also told that I would be expected to take part in vermin control as this was a very important part of the procedure. I was told that weekly, vermin were taken to a specific place and would be counted up on a points basis. Every club in the area participated and a cup was presented to the club with the highest score at the end of the season. To me it was a whole new world. In GB I regularly helped out the keeper on our local estate. Several times a year Mr Lenton, the gentleman farmer who owned the estate would drive my self and Stan Robins, the head keeper, around the estate at night shooting rabbits and the occasional fox if one happened to cross our path. We sat in the back of a Subaru truck with our 12 bores, a large box of cartridges (which were provided free of charge) and a very large lamp.

Doubts about my own ability began to cross my mind. Having shot from the age of eight I considered myself reasonably proficient and was regarded to be a pretty fair shot amongst my peers across the water. Standing in a line shooting driven birds was what I was mainly used to or setting decoys for woodies over rape or peas was my other forte. I felt this was going to be a very different experience from anything I had done before and so it turned out to be. I was told that it was more or less compulsory to turn out with a partner on the opening day to compete for the 'longest cock,' 'Bloody hell,' I thought, 'Is this anything to do with shooting or is it some ancient Irish ritual I had only just been informed of.' Much to my relief the rules were duly explained to me and I was paired off with Finbar Holmes, a brilliant shot and who turned out to be my regular partner for years to come. The ordeal then kicked in. Finbar was as fit as any olympic runner and so was his pointer dog. Having parked his van by a very large area of land we disembarked and set off, the dog first and then Finbar, followed by yours truly. The trick was to cover the allotted area at a reasonable pace without falling down bog holes and getting thoroughly drenched. I didn't know the trick. Within half an hour I was as wet as a fresh run salmon. My boots had been dragged off my feet on numerous occasions as I did my best to rescue them from the glutinous bog. My trousers were soaked to the waist where I had semi disappeared in very cold water bog holes. Finbar being the gent he is just smiled and patiently waited as I tried to cope with the situation I found myself in.

become to me it's classic pose; a foreleg cocked, tail rigid and head down. A flurry of noise and hens lifting to quickly disappear into the distance. A break for dinner which gave me the opportunity to go home and take a complete change of clothing was more than welcome. I will never forget the look on my wife Christine's face as this bedraggled mess walked through her kitchen door. 'You look as though you have been mugged‘, she said. ‗I bloody feel as though I have‘ was my reply. Clothes and boots changed, a pint pot of hot tea and a well received plate of stew had me feeling almost human again. It wasn't long before the same situation manifested itself. The machine that was Finbar Holmes and his ever enthusiastic dog just marched on followed now by a very tired and deflated Englishman. The call of a cock heard in the distant hedge turned the dog and its two pursuers. Several hundred yards on and the pointer stopped dead. 'Your bird, Geoff,' Finbar said. The dry feeling at the back of my throat suddenly got worse. What if the bird lifts and I pull only to see the prohibited hen fall dead. Just as embarrassing if I pull and miss the only cock of the day. I stepped forward and part raised the gun. The bird lifted as though fired out of a jack in a box amid a cacophony of sound. It partially turned in the air and set off like a Harrier jet. I raised the gun and fired. Much to my relief the bird folded and dropped, instantly, dead. As Finbar retrieved it he said, 'You have a winner there Geoff,' To be sure, it was a truly magnificent bird. Suddenly all the aches and pains were not there anymore. The bird was place very carefully into the bag and by the end of the day I had shot two more. The evening was almost as big an eye opener as the day across the bog. Pints flowed as free as the Shannon itself. My bird won by, as they say a country mile. Congratulations were genuinely given. I was now, one of the fold and loved every minute. The early hours of the morning saw me stagger through my front door clutching a trophy bigger than the FA cup. What a day, and you know what. I did learn the art of bog hopping and also went on to win that dreaded trophy on several other occasions.

The morning session ended with little success. The pointer had set in what was to 7


the Ward Union Staghounds as Chairman of the Hunting Association of Ireland. A long-time hunting man David, who followed his father Harry into the Laois mastership, is also Vice Chairman of the Irish Masters of Foxhounds Association. Gloucestershire born Chris Francis is the new huntsman of the Kildare Foxhounds having previously whipped-in there for two seasons under Ben Slee. No stranger to Ireland, Chris whipped-in for three seasons at the Ballymacad Foxhounds then returned to England to whip-in at the Taunton Vale Foxhounds for two seasons before taking the Kildare whipper‘s-in post. Also starting alongside Chris is kennel man Brian Murphy who was formerly at the Island Foxhounds. Former Kildare Foxhounds‘ whipper-inn Nyall Mahon is to whip-in to the Westmeath Foxhounds in succession to Fintan Callanan. His brother Jason has moved from the Pytchley Foxhounds to the Grafton Foxhounds in England. STORK NEWS:

Killultagh Hunt at Moira Game Fair


t is a period of change at the Kilkenny Foxhounds with three new masters being appointed and the Hunt horses being stabled at the local livery yard of Pat Loughlin MFH.

In addition, professional whipper-in Alan Reilly has not been reemployed for financial reasons. Of the new masters Tom Freyne, a Committee member, has whipped-in during Alan Reilly‘s period of injury after a bad fall, while James Staines hunts regularly and Ronan McParland was previously in the Kildare mastership from 1988— 1994. They join the existing masters Pat Loughlin, Michael Dean and Martin Brown with Brian O‘Farrell having retired from the mastership. Laois Foxhounds‘ master David Lalor has succeeded Oliver Russell of

North Down Foxhounds‘ huntsman Tom Haddock and his partner Sara Tatchell have a new baby son Dewi-John. Mother and baby are doing well and father is busier than ever! HUNTING ROUND UP: Mrs Cynthia Dorman has stood down from the North Down Foxhounds‘ mastership. She has been succeeded by local showing producer Miss Lesley Webb who, like Mrs Dorman, moves with the very best wishes of everyone in the country and beyond. At the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society annual show at Balmoral Showground's, Belfast, the Fingal Harriers based in County Meath won the inter hunt Chase. The Chase, which is sponsored by Wilson‘s Auctions, was preceded by an impressive display of hound control by the East Down Foxhounds‘ huntsman Declan Feeney who was parading the hounds. The East Downs had further presence in the main arena when senior joint master Mr Craig Caven, representing the Northern Ireland Masters of Hounds Association, presented a cheque for £1,000 to MacMillan Cancer on whose behalf it was accepted by Mr Trevor Magee. Lord Harrington, who was twice master of the Limerick Foxhounds (1972-1993 and 1997-2001) has died in his eighty seventh year. Miss Mary Shirley has celebrated her fiftieth anniversary as Honorary Secretary of the Louth Foxhounds. Mary, whose parents were also Honorary Secretaries of the Hunt, was presented with a sliver salver by Mrs Charles Angel, who owns the Louth hounds, at a function in Drogheda.

Hugh Cochrane, Huntsman at the Mid Antrim Harriers—Open Day at Ballymena


Mary Shirley‘s fifty year tenure means that the family has held the

HUNTING ROUND UP BY TOM FULTON post since 1926, a remarkable achievement by any standards. The Mid Antrim Harriers won the Pony Club mounted games at the Balmoral Show when their team of Josh Patterson, Alan McBurney, Amy McNiece, Claire Winters and Tara O‘Connell beat the Iveagh Foxhounds‘ team by an impressive twenty points.

At Eamon‘s Funeral at Skryne Pat Coyle blew ―Gone Away‖ to honour his uncle.

OBITUARIES Death of Tommy O’Dwyer The death of Tommy O‘Dwyer, long time whipper-in to the Scarteen Foxhounds has taken place in his seventy fifth year. A working life devoted to the Scarteen Foxhounds began in 1950 and continued even beyond his retirement from riding in 2007. Ill health might have kept him out of the saddle but it did not stop him being in kennels virtually every day. I well remember working at the Countryside Alliance Ireland Festival at Clonmel Racecourse, when Chris Ryan paraded hounds with Tommy whipping-in—on his day off!. Such dedication is rarely encountered nowadays! Tommy‘s devotion to his job was a rare and invaluable quality and was among others which made him such a popular and highly respected figure in Irish hunting circles. Tommy was buried at Knocklong, Co Limerick, and every sympathy is extended to his wife Annette and two sons John and James.

Oliver Ryan-Purcell, North Tipperary Foxhounds Joint Master

Every sympathy is extended to his wife Lelia and the family circle on the death of this quiet and popular man.

Death of Eamon Dunphy The death, after a long illness, of Eamon Dunphy, former huntsman of the Ward Union Staghounds, caused immense sadness among a very wide circle of people. A native of Co Laois, Eamon entered hunt service, on leaving school, with the Co Laois Foxhounds. He then moved, as second whipper-in, to the Kildare Foxhounds where he spent eleven seasons before moving, as huntsman, to the Ward Union Staghounds. Together with Captain John Wentges, Eamon bred an outstandingly good pack of Dumfriesshire Foxhounds which, given their nature, found a most sympathetic huntsman in Eamon. After twenty five seasons with the Ward Union Staghounds Eamon retired, handing over the post to his nephew Pat Coyle who remains huntsman today.

East Antrim Huntsman Patrick Headdon at Parkgate

The Ballymacad Hunt on Parade at Ballinlough Game Fair


ENIGMA OF THIS SALMON SEASON—FISSTA NEWS BY NOEL CARR are the backbone of the spawning programmes in these rivers.


he Spring salmon run in most rivers may have shown a small improvement this year there is no doubt that most fisheries report the same story that our Summer grilse run has collapsed this season. Those that have arrived seem to be very small and as we say in Donegal ‗of the sharpening stone variety‘. There are many reasons put forward for this but the most common is the toll that has been exacted by the many years of sustained drift netting of the resource during the months of July, August and now September also has appearances of little improvement so far. There are of course the usual exceptions where some private fisheries are concerned along with the Moy system where tourism and property seems to play a large part in landing statistics. But that is a matter for another day when the complete season will reviewed. But for now, we must confront the main issues as our members present them for our Federation to take action on immediately. This was the general view at the most recent National Executive Council meeting of FISSTA held on July 26th in Birr County Arms Hotel where a mid season review of the fisheries performance and management was discussed in detail. There was anger at the extensions into 15th August and on the Nore until the 29th August despite the many, many representations made to the Minister on this very sensitive issue. We have been told on numerous occasions that FISSTA are the only angling body taking issue with these extensions as they are bound by the allocated quotas which seems to satisfy most except FISSTA anglers. Yet, how can a Minister extend the snap netting on the majestic waters of the Nore to the 29th of August when he limited the angling to catch and release in June and July. The scientists advice can be ignored or skewed to suit the commercials against the salmon and that is only conclusion to what is an appalling state of affairs and confirms why we need to revive the campaign to end commercial netting of all salmon until we return our rivers to abundance. How can the extensions on the lower Lee, Bandon, Illen, Roughty, Sneem, Carragh, Laune (including the Cottoners), Kerry Owenmore, Sheen, Inney, Owenduff, Mayo Owenmore and Newport be justified at a time when we all (except the scientists) know the August or backend fish


At a recent meeting between FISSTA and the Central Fisheries Board on this issue the CEO Ciaran Byrne (and new CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland) queried the very existence of such a run scientifically as the backend or Autumn fish but assured us he would conduct research into ‗your theory‘. We stated that no further studies were needed to establish the very facts that anglers on the ground have observed for generations. It is another example of the academia who advise the powers having to emerge from their labs to check our watch, and confirm we can tell the time. We are very glad that our strong opposition to the changing of the Feale netting guard were not rewarded once again with an extension, but that is only a small victory in what is an absolute and total abuse of our very limited resource. This disregard for any semblance of management of our salmon was discussed and many proposals were explored and some long and short term were agreed. The most immediate was to devise and launch a new campaign against the commercial netting, fish farming and state mismanagement of our wild salmon resource and samples of the 4 issues to be made into brochures are shown above and overleaf. The members got a detailed report on the NASCO ANNUAL CONFERENCE held in Norway in June which allowed us to partner the Norwegian salmon anglers in their campaign at NASCO. The meeting at NASCO allowed FISSTA to seek clarification on the Kilkenny presentation by Paddy Gargan as reported in the last issue when he stated that log book stats were not being considered any longer for rivers with fish recorded fewer than ten. A summary of the ―Diversification of inland fisheries in our communities‖ report to the Joint Oireachtas Committee by Joe McHugh TD which stimulated the debate. FISSTA addressed the General Assembly of European Anglers Alliance held in Slovenia at the end of August and gained support for many of the issues highlighted in their campaign leaflets as outlined above. Fisheries Awareness Week 2009 We are indebted once again to our Angling clubs, tackle shops and casting instructors for helping FISSTA raise awareness of angling and the environment in Ireland. The goal has been to encourage first time adults and parents to take their children and teenagers on to their local waters to find out more about fishing and to pick up a rod and get started. FISSTA have already completed their own club youth and newcomer angling programmes for this season culminating in some participants from Kerry schools attending free coaching lessons at the recently held Birr Game fair. We hope to get the state on board for our

ENIGMA OF THIS SALMON SEASON窶認ISSTA NEWS BY NOEL CARR programme for 2010 when Inland Fisheries Ireland will be the new body to assist us in introducing more would be anglers to the sport.

occasions pending the outcome of proceedings taken by the anglers in the Circuit Court.


At the High Court on Monday the NRFB sought a declaration that the Circuit Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the proceedings but Judge Charleton declined to make such a declaration thereby falling in favour of the Donegal anglers. Counsel for The Board sought an Order restraining the Defendants from intimidating persons holding permits. Cormac o'Dulachain Senior Counsel strenuously dismissed any intimidation by the defendants and indeed Judge Charleton commented that the men were of "high integrity and good character". He held that the exclusion of any person from fishing was a matter to be determined when the case was opened fully. It was directed that The Board prepare a map identifying the parts, if any of the river in respect of which they claim to have title. Judge Charleton recommended that mediation take place between the parties and recommended that Mr. Tony Barr Senior Counsel mediate in this matter. The Judge reserved cost .

Many anglers nationally were astounded by the recent tactics adopted by the Northern Regional Fisheries Board against our clubs protesting against state takeover on their river. On Monday the 21st of July 2009 an application for an Injunction taken by The Northern Regional Fisheries Board against prominent angling leaders including Secretary of The Donegal Game Angling Federation Peadar O'Baoill, John Boyle of Rosses Anglers and John Gerard Boyle of Cumann Iascairi Baile na Finne came before Judge Charleton at The High Court in Dublin. The NRFB sought an Injunction whereby local anglers who have issued Circuit Court proceedings to assert their right to fish would be excluded from fishing on any part of The Gweebarra River. The NRFB maintain that both a permit and a licence are required to fish. The Donegal Game Anglers have always fished with only a licence and with the long established permission of many local landowners along the Gweebarra river. This is a dispute that arose from a decision of CEO of the NRFB Mr Harry Lloyd to publish in March 2007 their intention to charge up to 竄ャ50 per day for angling, without any consultation with local anglers or clubs of many years standing or their parent body The Donegal Game Angling Federation. The Plan dismissed the right of the Rosses Anglers Finntown Anglers and other local Anglers by ignoring the fact that they have fished legally for generations without having to purchase a permit. The dispute has seen many local anglers before the District Court pursuant to The Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and such cases have been successfully adjourned on a number of

The Chairman of the DGAF and FISSTA Executive member Mr. David Magill stated after the case that "for well over 3 years now, the Northern Regional Fisheries Board have ignored our appeals to lift their embargo on communicating with our Federation and to engage in a negotiated settlement of the dispute, this is a great result" Mr. Magill also commented that he was pleased that the Judge had recommended mediation and that no restriction was placed on anglers who have fished freely for so long. Mr. McGill attributes the success of local anglers in avoiding such an injunction to the Defence as raised by their legal team, the Solicitors for the anglers Hartnett Hayes Solicitors of Dungloe, Peter Nolan Barrister and Cormac O'Dulachain Senior Counsel.


HUNTING SUMMER REVIEW & NEWS BY LIZ BROWN National Hound Show 2009 – Stradbally, 5th July

An extended and torrential downpour over Stradbally in the early part of the day did not bode well for the National Hound Show, but fortunately the weather took an unexpected turn for the better and during the judging there were only a few brief showers. This year the Irish Masters of Foxhounds were holding their centenary Hound Show. The judging of Foxhounds and Beagles took place simultaneously as part of the Laois Foxhounds‘ Horse Show, with two rings attractively situated in front of Stradbally Hall, against a busy backdrop of jumping, pony games and team-chasing. Beagles: The beagles were judged by Tim Rogers, Jt Master and Huntsman of the Per Ardua Beagles, and Charles Carter, Jt Master and Huntsman of the West Norfolk Foxhounds, a former huntsman of both the Stowe and Royal Agricultural College Beagles. Both judges have in the past brought their beagle packs to hunt in Ireland, and so it was a mutually enjoyable day for locals and visitors to meet up again and enjoy memories of past hunts together. The quality of beagles shown in Ireland is generally acknowledged to have increased greatly over the 60 years since the formation of the Irish Masters of Beagles Association, and it is apparent from this year‘s show entries that many packs are continuing to make good use of English bloodlines to enhance the conformation of their hounds. Seven packs were competing in the show, with entries from both the North and South of Ireland. Although all the packs picked up rosettes, the day was dominated by the Woodrock & Blackwater Valley Beagles from County Cork. Their Joint Masters, Jack and John O‘Connor, have in recent years introduced bloodlines obtained from the West Somerset Beagles, and their successful breeding policy was evidenced by the nine trophies won by hounds from that line. It was West Somerset Woodman, the Stallion Hound used so effectively by the Woodrock, who went on to take the Dog Championship ahead of Maryboro Farmers‘ Drummer 08, while in the afternoon Woodrock‘s Dehlia 07 won first place in 3 classes before going on to take the Bitch Championship. Pallaskenry‘s Beaver 03C, repeating her triumph of 2008 in the Brood Bitch category, and also taking Reserve in the Bitch Championship, was the day‘s only winning hound with both parents in the Irish Stud Book – although if one looks back to her grandparents one finds English breeding. The Balgarrett Beagles, from County Westmeath, who had triumphed in June at the Northern Ireland Hound Show, where they had taken both the dog and bitch championships, on this occasion had to be content with being second best pack overall, their hounds securing a remarkable string of second places. Eventually, it was the home-bred WBV Dehlia 07 who beat her 12

English sire to the Supreme Championship. On the day, all the Woodrock & Blackwater Valley hounds were beautifully presented and shown to their best by huntsman Stevie McDonald, for whom it was a memorable week, having recently become a first time father. At the conclusion of the Show two presentations were made. Firstly to Niall Riordan of the Maryboro / Midleton Beagles, recently retired from the IMBA Committee, in acknowledgement of his painstaking work over very many years as Show Recorder and in various other positions of office within the Association, and secondly to Mrs Liz Brown of the Sunnyland Beagles, who was standing down as show secretary, having recently been appointed President of the IMBA.


David Meredith—It is with great sadness we report on the death of David Meredith. For several years David ran the security at many of the Game Fairs throughout Ireland.

The new season stretches ahead and, as the days shorten, the vegetation begins to die back and the scenting improves, all hunting people look forward in eager anticipation of many memorable days to come.

David‘s daughter, Glenda Powell, penned the following poem as a tribute to her Father:

Hunt committees are reminded to ensure that all followers (whether members or visitors) and the hunt club itself as a legal entity, are adequately insured.

Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there I did not sleep. I am the thousand winds that blow, across Strangford Lough, in the autumn glow. As the beat of wings from the mallard come, and the peeweeps call in the fading sun. I am in the cartridge shells, the smell of gun oil, waxed jackets, and the Spaniels wagging tails. Look for the red light on Scrabo Tower, guiding you home and protecting, during this dark hour. You will find me in the sea-gulls wings, following the tractor at the start of spring. You‘ll remember me when the west wind moves, among the fields of barley, at Struell Wells. When the chestnuts fall, and the leaves turn red, think of me for I am not dead. When the trout rise, and the pheasants fly, don‘t worry girls, I will be nearby. In the dead of night look out and see, that big bright star, well that is me! The game fairs, Henry, and the shooting scene, outside my family this was my everything. All of those places we loved so well, remember them and don‘t forget to tell.

Opposition to Hunting At a time when hunting appears to be winning the battle for public acceptance in England and Wales, all hunts in Ireland should anticipate an increased level of local activity from our opponents. In recognition of this likelihood, a meeting, open to all registered hunts in Ireland, was recently hosted by Countryside Alliance Ireland at which Tim Bonner (Head of Communication at Countryside Alliance in GB) gave a presentation on hunting, ―antis‖ and the media. Tim gave a most interesting & insightful review of the history of hunting and public relations in GB, and gave recommendations for the way forward in Ireland, emphasising the importance of hunts establishing good relationships with local media and handling issues sensitively. With the possibility of transfer of ―anti‖ activity from England, hunts are reminded to be wary of strangers accompanying the hunt. Any hunt wishing to receive a copy of CAI‘s guidelines should contact one of the CAI offices.

Ainsley, Anna, Ian and Ethan, they are so special and I won‘t forget them. I will send them little things, and tell them now that I have wings! Take them were we used to go, all those happy days as a family we had so long ago. Island hill, Killenether, the river Inler, the pigeon loft, Rademon, the gas work plant, Pig Island, Castle Espie, Giant‘s Causeway, Henry and Mrs Ritchie‘s, Carrickmannon, Jimmy Shannon‘s, Tullamore Forest, Bert‘s, Lily and Joes. You‘ll remember Glenda how the story goes. As for your mother, well what can I say, I loved her so so much till my dying day. Tell her to have faith, and have no fear, I am with her, and I will always be near. We reared 4 daughters who we taught to be strong, don‘t worry June, they will carry you along. Now as for my friends and the rest of my family, I am at peace now, and I have tranquillity.

Another SPO in Northern Ireland

To the boys of the MSA, we had some fun, mixing work and play. You are a team now, and stick together, and remember that Beverley is your new leader. Now enough of this, I have things to do, and I wonder if my mum‘s made a great big Irish stew?

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published notice of intention to introduce a further Special Protection Order in respect of the Irish Hare, which will once again make it illegal to kill, take, sell or purchase an Irish Hare.

Live life to the full, for you never know, when your time is up and you have to go. I will miss you, but please don‘t cry, heaven is only a stones throw away.

It is intended to come into force on 1st December 2009 and run until 11th August 2010. In announcing this proposal, Minister Poots stated: ―The conservation mechanisms that my department has put in place are bearing fruit and the number of Irish Hares is being sustained...―

Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there - I did not sleep.

Our sympathies go to David‘s wife June, his daughters Beverley, Glenda, Hayley and Emma and to the Meredith family circle.



Dungloe, Donegal

Margaret Rooney

Swords Dublin

Muriel Scorer

Clonee Co Westmeath

Sorch Weld

Swords, Co Dublin

Stella McGriskin

Kiltyclogher Co Leitrim

Edel Decies

Straffan CoKildare. Reserve.

Margaret Doyle

Killarney Co Kerry Reserve.

The team was superbly coached by the very experienced International angler Denis Cronin from Macroom. Denis is a member of Macroom & Kanturk trout angling Clubs.


he Irish Ladies Fly Fishing Association hosted this years Ladies Home International Fly Fishing Championship on Lough Lein, Killarney, Co Kerry.

Each country England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales competed on a one day match on Thursday 18th June with two official practice days prior to the event. The official team hotel was The Dromhall Hotel, Killarney. The event started on Monday 15th June at 6pm with a reception to welcome all the competing teams to Killarney. The welcome included traditional Irish music & a fantastic Irish dancing display from a local dancing school. Fourteen ladies from each country competed- fifty six ladies in total requiring twenty-eight boats with boatmen. The match was fished on a catch & release basis. A draw was made for boat partners and two anglers from different countries fished together with a controller (boatman). The controller was responsible for carefully measuring the fish and returning them safely to the lake. The team with the highest total length of fish caught & returned wins. This is the first time a Ladies International has been totally catch & release and has been welcomed not only by the ladies associations but also by local clubs here in Killarney. All fish caught were returned to the lake helping the conservation of the precious wild brown trout. It will also be the first time an International has been held in Munster. The championship commenced at 9am from Ross Castle and finished at 5pm. The ladies traditionally march down to the boats led by a piper and this year they were led by Anthony O‘Sullivan from Millstreet who is also a member of Kanturk & District Trout Anglers & was 3rd in the Junior all Ireland piping championships. The team who represented Ireland is as follows Anne McWilliams

Kanturk, Co. Cork. Captain

Orla Walsh

Cloghans. Co Mayo. Vice Captain

Ann Kerrin

Florencecourt Co Fermanagh

Betty Hayes

Co Kildare

Carmel Kelly

Cloghans Co Mayo

Dorrie Gibbons

Cong Co Mayo

Julie Gerry

Co Kildare

Mary Dunne

Cloghans Co Mayo

Mary Gunning

Ballyfarnon Co Roscommon


The two local clubs Lough Lein Anglers & Killarney Trout & Salmon Anglers in association with the National Park & Wildlife Service assisted with the organisation. RESULTS 1ST


138 FISH 79880 POINTS



112 FISH 65260 POINTS



107 FISH 62860 POINTS



93 FISH 54320 POINTS

The Irish Ladies Team achieved their first ever win in the 18 year involvement with this International event. A truly historic International for the ladies.


Emerald Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2009  

News and Views from Countryside Alliance Ireland

Emerald Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2009  

News and Views from Countryside Alliance Ireland