Anger over ban on game hunting during Covid-19 restrictions

There is widespread frustration and anger among Game Protection Association (GPA) and gun club members following the decision to include a prohibition on game hunting within the current Covid-19 Level 5 restrictions.

That’s according to Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan who was speaking after she had engaged with the office of the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin.

Deputy Nolan urged her Oireachtas colleague to “immediately reassess” the necessity of maintaining the ban given the natural levels of social distancing that take place when any such shooting takes place.

“What we have here is yet another example of just how out of touch this government is, particularly the Green Party ministers,” Deputy Nolan said.

They simply do not understand rural Ireland or how it organises its pursuits, commerce and pastimes. We have already seen evidence of that with the fiasco around mart sales.

“I have been contacted by a significant volume of gun club members who are firmly convinced that the Green Party is simply using the Covid-19 restrictions as a cover to effectively destroy their capacity to exist.

“I have also been contacted by GPA members who say they have invested significantly this year in releasing game birds and vermin control,” she added.

The independent deputy said that the vast majority of members hunt within 5km of their home and if permitted would be extremely respectful of the boundary limits.

I have found it deeply alarming to hear stories about how this ban will negatively impact both the physical and mental health of gun club members.

“We need a bit of cop on about this. If members can hunt responsibly and within clearly defined boundaries of 5km then there should be no reason why the prohibition should continue,” concluded Deputy Nolan.