A prohibition on game hunting in light of Covid-19 restrictions has been slammed by an Independent TD.
Danny Healy-Rae expressed his anger during Leaders’ Questions on Tuesday (November 3rd).
“Many people live for different reasons and look forward to different things. Gun clubs and individuals who operate game shooting live for the three winter months of November, December and January for hunting and game shooting pheasants, woodcock.”
“It makes no sense to stop a man and his dog going up a lonely slieve, bog or wide-open territory. If the Taoiseach is to continue with these rules and regulations, he will lose the people.”
“It is fine when it makes sense to the people. When it is not making common sense, he will have to stop because he is losing the people.”
In response, Micheál Martin said the “entire issue is around moving to Level 5”. That, he added, means reducing congregating and travelling outside 5km for anything.
An Garda Síochána issued a statement on the matter last week.
A Garda spokesperson said: “Pheasant shooting season begins on Sunday 1st November.”
“This normally involves shooting club members travelling to pheasant shoots around the country, frequently in groups, and is regarded as sport shooting.
“Under the current regulations (SI 448), sporting events must be organised under the structure/ licence of a national governing body, funded by Sport Ireland.”
As such, sport shooting is prohibited in any other circumstances, the statement added.
“Recreational hunting does not fall under any of the exemptions allowed for exercise or sporting events.”
Furthermore, it has also been clarified that recreational hunting does not come under any permissible exemptions for travel outside of the home.
“Shooting of vermin (rats/foxes/crows) is permissible as an essential support service to the farming and agriculture profession.”