Countryside Alliance

Grassroots Summer 2015

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

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

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

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with us. This is invaluable for alerting us to information of immediate and current interest and we thank you for this. We also enjoy hearing about our members’ events and activities – please keep these communications coming and if we can publicise a relevant event for you, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Deer Management in Ireland

As our largest wild land mammal, deer are magnificent creatures and fully deserving of their place in the environment. However, in the absence of predators to control their numbers, it falls on deer hunters to manage deer at sustainable levels, minimising damage to crops and the environment. In Ireland, we are increasingly seeing evidence that such damage does not exist or is reduced significantly. An example of this is data recently released by National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) that contradicts previous claims that Ireland’s wild deer population is increasing and out of control. The NPWS report contains details of deer cull returns, a requirement for licensed deer hunters who wish to cull wild deer during the open hunting season, from September 1st to February 28th. Hunters must declare the location, species, gender, and number of deer culled. These latest cull returns, show 29,766 animals were culled in 2014, a continuous decline since 2009, when 34,820 deer were culled. The decline in the national deer cull is despite a significant increase in the number of deer hunters, with 4,651 deer hunting licenses granted in 2014, an increase of over 2,100 licenses in the last ten years. County Wicklow, which accounts for over one third of the national deer cull, saw the largest decline with a 22% decline in the number of deer culled since 2010. The NPWS data also includes details of permits requested by landowners under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts. “Section 42” of the Wildlife Acts, permits the culling of deer during

Game and Country Fairs

National Countrysports Fair, Scarvagh, County Down – 6 & 7 June 2015

Our first event of the season is the National Countrysports Fair which will be held at its new location of Scarvagh. This year CAI will have a significant presence with an extended marquee that will host the British Deer Society (NI) and Firefly of Newtownards. We are looking forward to exhibiting at the event’s wonderful new location and there are many activities and attractions to suit all ages. We wish the organisers well at their new venue. The Great Game Fairs of Ireland – discounted entry - exclusive for CAI members Shanes Castle, Antrim – 27 & 28 June 2015 & Birr Castle, Birr – 29 & 30 August 2015 Countryside Alliance Ireland is delighted to announce that we have procured tickets on behalf of our members to attend the Game Fairs at Shanes Castle (Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 June 2015) and Birr Castle (Saturday 29 & Sunday 30 August 2015) at a discounted rate. As such, we are offering two adult entry tickets for the price of one. Two adult tickets for £10! These Fairs give CAI the ideal opportunity to showcase the organisation’s work while engaging with members, potential members and the public in general. At Shanes Castle, our marquee will play host to the British Deer Society (NI) and PAW NI and to the Wild Deer Association of Ireland, The Irish Red Grouse Association Conservation Trust and The Irish Fly Fishing and Game Shooting Museum at Birr Castle. The Fairs offer something for all of the family and we are once again delighted to be playing such a vital part. Discounted tickets must be ordered in advance through the CAI offices, they cannot be purchased at the Fairs. Tickets for Shanes Castle are available to order now! To avail of this superb offer, please contact our NI office on +44 28 9263 9911 quoting your membership number and we can take payment by debit or credit card. Last date for ordering discounted tickets to ensure delivery is Tuesday 23 June 2015. No exceptions. (Birr Castle tickets will be available for order from the beginning of July – we shall keep you updated.) Available from your n ws ge ts or by subscription


Every issue of The Countryman’s Weekly is packed full of articles covering a wide range of subjects that will be of interest to you. Whether you regularly participate in countrysports activities or are more of a spectator, quality articles on Gundogs, Lurchers, Terriers, Ferrets, Hunting, Shooting, Wildfowling, Stalking, Country Shows, Gamekeeping, Pest Control, Sporting History, Country Recipes, Falconry and Angling are sure to appeal. The Countryman’s Weekly is available from all good newsagents or you can take advantage of our discounted subscription offers and have it delivered to your door.

Tel: 01752 762990 Fax: 01752 771715 Web:

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the closed season. The report highlights a 30% decline in such permits during 2014, which suggests there are less deer and fewer land owners suffering crop damage from deer.

The NPWS report does not include deer killed illegally by poachers, which is believed to be at unprecedented levels in recent years.

Protect Your River

Our rivers and streams often form the picturesque focal point of our towns and villages. They provide a peaceful retreat from the stresses of a frantic modern lifestyle and are a haven for wildlife in a world of rapidly shrinking wetland habitat. Anglers treasure their streams for the sport they provide and the chance to share their time with dippers, kingfishers, otters, etc. Unfortunately there are many pressures on our waterways including pollution, development and drainage. Alone, the angling community cannot hope to overcome these problems but by forming a River Trust and working with other stakeholders we can get the attention of councils, government agencies and MLAs; in fact everyone who is in a position to make serious improvement. Every river has a potential for recreation, sustainable tourism, biodiversity and conservation. A river is a great asset to any community; by working together anglers, ramblers, bird watchers, canoeists, community groups and riparian owners can improve water quality, recreation facilities, habitat and biodiversity. Take the opportunity to browse the internet for the Association of River Trusts or the Wild Trout Trust to see what the possibilities are for improving your river. Ballinderry River Trust is the largest in Northern Ireland; visit their website and see the range of projects and initiatives which are improving local rivers. You will be surprised at the support available from NIEA, Rivers Agency, NI Water, local councils and you can adopt a holistic approach to improve the various aspects of your river from source to sea. Take the initiative now, while we still have our beautiful rivers to protect! Pollution Hotline 0800 807060.

A further indication of falling deer numbers is consistent feedback of declining deer numbers from Wild Deer Association of Ireland members; the national representative organisation for those involved in deer management. Early indications from an ongoing national deer survey, is that deer numbers have been decimated in many areas due to widespread poaching, while some areas continue to have healthy deer populations. The significant decline in the deer cull combined with a significant increase in the number of hunters, is an indication that deer are being killed at levels that may threaten their future in some areas. In a new development we have seen deer hunters self impose an early close to the hunting season due to lack of deer. A recent positive development is the government launch of the Irish Deer Management Forum. The forum is made up of all key stakeholders and will now form the basis for future development of a long term national deer management plan. The forum also creates an opportunity to ensure deer are managed at sustainable levels with regard for all land users.

- Damien Hannigan , Wild Deer Association of Ireland

Irish Coursing Club - Founded 1916 Join us for our Centenary celebrations National Coursing Meeting 2016 Powerstown Park, Clonmel, Co Tipperary Friday 29th January - Saturday 30th January - Sunday 31st January

Coursing starts 11am each day Admission: Friday €20 - Saturday / Sunday €25 (incl programme) Children U17 Free

-Michael Martin, Six Mile Water Trust

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Insurance protection for Countryside Alliance Ireland members

Information provided by R K Harrison Insurance Services ltd

Whilst almost all Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI) members will join the organisation because of a love of the countryside and an appreciation for the work that the CAI does to defend and promote country sports and rural life, some may also sign up to take advantage of the range of benefits that are offered as part of the membership. One such benefit is the automatic inclusion to CAI’s insurance programme organised by R K Harrison Insurance Services (RKHIS). The package provides Personal Accident cover and Employers’, Public and Products Liability cover for eligible members to participate in a wide range of specific country pursuits (otherwise referred to as Recognised Activities) including a variety of riding and shooting events.

A full list of Recognised Activities can be found in the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ’s) in the Insurance section of the CAI website and this document will also give you a better understanding of how these pursuits are defined in insurance terms.

RKHIS understands the importance of providing the appropriate cover for CAI members and that is why we continuously review the policies being offered and the insurer partners providing them, to ensure that members can enjoy peace of mind whilst enjoying their chosen country pursuits.

A full review of cover and provider was undertaken in 2013 and we were impressed with the level of understanding insurers had about the needs of CAI members. A decision was made to appoint two new insurer partners, Aviva for Personal Accident and Liberty Mutual for Liabilities. In both cases the breadth of cover has been expanded. For further details of the policies offered please see the summary of cover documents, policy wordings and FAQ’s available on the website.

Knowing you’re covered As well as knowing that you have these policies in place as part of your membership, it helps to understand how different policies are designed to give specific cover in certain circumstances, and which policy you will need to claim against should you ever need to. Below you will find a brief description of Personal Accident and Public Liability two of the most common sections of cover that claims are made against:

Personal Accident

Public Liability


Personal Accident insurance provides cover for a wide range of defined permanent bodily injuries which arise as a result of an accident whilst participating in a Recognised Activity.

Public Liability insurance provides cover for the legal liability of a member to third parties for death, bodily injury or damage to property arising in connection with a Recognised Activity. Because this is a legal liability policy, any third party who suffers damage to property or injury must prove negligence on the part of the CAI member.

A Personal Accident policy will pay out set benefit amounts depending on the severity of the injuries sustained.

This type of policy is known as a benefit policy which means that as long as an accident is within the scope of the policy the benefit amount is paid irrespective of blame. The Maximum benefit payable is £35,000 for Permanent Total Disablement, with a sliding scale of benefits linked to the severity of the injury.


£10,000,000 any one occurrence

A benefit of £15,000 is payable for accidental death

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What happens if I have other insurance in force covering the same event?

If you are making a claim against your Personal Accident policy this is irrelevant as you can claim under more than one personal accident policy for the same event.

liability. Where alternative insurance is in force covering your liability arising from an incident (such as home insurance, pet or equine insurance), you must submit your claim under that policy. If such alternative insurance has the same “Other Insurance”clause as this policy, you must notify RKHIS and we will liaise with the other underwriter concerned so that agreement can be reached on how liability should be shared between the two policies.

Making a Claim

Claims Examples:

Of course the true worth of any insurance policy is only found out in

Personal Accident

insurers have paid out and dealt with public liability claims amounting to over £900,000 and personal accident claims of over £570,000. It is important for members to remember to report all possible claims promptly and with as much information as possible to enable insurers to properly assess the claim circumstances. As soon as an incident occurs you need to contact RKHIS – our details are provided below. We will guide you through the process of making a claim and will be on hand to give you advice throughout. On all claims you will be asked which Recognised Activity you were carrying out at the time of the incident and you will be asked for your membership number. permanency of your injuries. The claim form is designed to obtain all details at the outset of the claim and will ask that you give your permission for this to happen. If you are aware that a liability claim may be made against you, please provide a full report as soon as possible after the incident occurs, together with details of any witnesses and photographic evidence if available. It is always better for insurers to make investigations into an incident when the matter is still fresh in everyone’s mind as this improves their chances of a successful defence. If you are making a personal accident claim, insurers will want to

A member fell from his horse whilst on a hunt and broke his back, causing permanent paralysis – paid £35,000

A beater was shot in the face causing permanent facial scar – paid £5,000

A member tripped over their dog whilst shooting and landed heavily on their eye causing loss of sight – paid £30,000


A member whose horse hit a third party vehicle – award against the member £22,380

A member who shot a third party whilst on a shoot - award against member £15,000

Damage caused to a third party vehicle by a members pony and trap after the pony got spooked – award against member €58,046 A beater sustained a head injury caused by a member at a shoot – award against member €54,637

If you have any questions or if you need to make a claim please contact RKHIS on the details below:

Anna Burt Head of Claims

Sarah Morris Divisional Director - Servicing

T: 01234 311255 F: 01234 408676

T: 01234 311255 F: 01234 408676

Please note that Countryside Alliance Ireland is unable to provide personal advice to prospective or actual members concerning the suitability or

circumstances or seek professional advice.

R K Harrison Insurance Services Limited (RKHIS) is an appointed representative of R K Harrison Group Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in respect

assurance purposes. 09/14 ref 2395

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Round-up of the 2014 –15 Beagling Season Most packs report that the past season provided plenty of hares – possibly the result of the warm & dry spring and long summer of 2014, with good survival rates amongst leverets. The Cavanapole Beagles report that they called a slightly premature halt to their season this spring, having encountered early leverets on the ground – hopefully this is a sign of another good breeding year and is possibly the result of a relatively mild winter. However, in contrast, there have been reports of some localised areas being relatively short of hares, particularly areas of open grassland with little cover, and some huntsmen wonder if this shortage can be linked with the ever burgeoning numbers of buzzards?

the huntsman & one of the young whippers-in from the Goldburn Beagles were welcomed as observers, to learn much of hunting practice and kennel-management from the more experienced visiting hunt staff and the host pack. Just after the end of the season two young stalwarts of the Woodrock celebrated their marriage –very best wishes from all Irish beaglers go to Marie & John as they set out on their shared life together. The Armagh & Richhill report their best season’s hunting for many years, with good numbers of hares and the pack hunting particularly strongly. The club ended their season with a very successful dinner dance which attracted members from their own hunt and many of their neighbouring hunt clubs, both beagles and mounted packs. Under the enthusiastic guidance of Joint Master Aileen Byrne, the Goldburn Beagles are happily enjoying renewed levels of support from regular and occasional followers, with particularly encouraging numbers of enthusiastic youngsters. This hunt is currently working on construction of new kennels, which should soon be ready for occupation. The surroundings of the old kennels had become increasingly urbanised & difficult for pack management. Two observations from the master / huntsman of the Westmeath Beagles highlight some aspects of the simple but deeply profound enjoyment that our sport can provide: He noted the huge satisfaction when a fourth season bitch hound finally decided to enter. She is a great character and of sound breeding, but very slow to learn her trade. The huntsman, alone amongst his pack’s followers, kept the faith and was eventually rewarded with great delight when she transformed from a “hound at heel” to a hound with a great work ethic during this past season. He also reflected on the absolute joy of following our ancient sport over some of the most significant sites of Celtic history and the special sense of timeless tradition enjoyed when out with his hounds at such special locations. So we look back on a fruitful season in which many younger followers have stepped forward to increase their knowledge of beagling and to take increasing responsibility for the hounds under their care, thereby fostering a positive future for our ancient sport. In closing we acknowledge our gratitude to the many hundreds of farmers and landowners who have welcomed beagle packs over their land during the past season and send an enormous “thank you” from all the hunts. With- out your support we would have no sport, and we appreciate greatly your continued tolerance of our hounds and followers. -E M Brown , Sunnyland Beagles

The Westmeath focused their early season meets on the bog-lands of their country, where there is less likelihood of disrupting dairy herds enjoying the last of the summer grass. This was particularly necessary in autumn 2014, with its extended grazing season. For the same reason other packs started their season on stubble & plough, in forestry or on uplands. The Sunnyland Beagles went as usual to the bog- lands of North Galway, meeting up there with the Pallaskenry from County Limerick. It was a momentous and daunting time for the Sunnyland, following the death in summer 2014 of John Shaw Brown, their huntsman for 35 seasons and also a very hands-on kennelman for the majority of that time. Joint Master David Rodgers has taken over as huntsman, with Lee Beverland as kennel-huntsman, and a willing team of whippers-in providing vital assistance in all aspects. The pack has had a good season with great support from members & visitors and a most cheering welcome from their landowners. Towards the end of the season, two joint meets between the Armagh & Richhill Beagles and the Sunnyland brought some really noteworthy hunting. At the second of these meets a new young lady whipper-in wore the Sunnyland uniform for the first time. The Maryboro / Midleton Beagles and the Riverstown also enjoyed joint hunting in County Cork. Such shared meets always provide a good opportunity to judge the relative merits of others’ hounds for potential breeding purposes, as well as welcome social interaction amongst the huntsmen and hunt followers. The Woodrock & Blackwater Valley beagles held their annual Beagling Festival in February, with terrific support from the visiting English hunts bringing a welcome boost to the local economy. Under an initiative from the IMBA committee,

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The Great Game Fairs of Ireland

The GREAT GAME FAIRS of IRELAND are planning many new attractions for the Irish Game Fair at Shanes Castle on the 27th & 28th June and Irish Game & Country Fair at Birr Castle, Co Offaly on the 29th & 30th August. The Shanes and Birr Fairs will literally be bigger and better than ever! There are four key themes to each fair – country sports, country living, living history and fine food. This year, each will be extended and enhanced to provide spectacular visitor experiences for the whole family; indeed, anyone who lives, works or plays in the Irish countryside. Hunting, shooting, gundogs and fishing will be centre stage at the Great Game Fairs of Ireland. 2015 sees all these segments take a giant leap forward including the superb ‘country sports in action’ arena with action from long netting to ferret racing. Catch the super angling attractions at the fairs to see the greatest changes - with new angling shows supported by DCAL Fisheries Division and Inland Fisheries Ireland. Competitions in clay shooting, gundogs, terriers, lurchers & whippets provide fantastic international competitions with prize funds unrivalled in Ireland. The clay pigeon shooting at the Shanes Castle Fair has FOUR shotguns to be won and the gundog internationals feature top teams from England, Scotland, Wales, ROI and NI. There’s a huge number of attractions for the whole family including a children’s area, lots of have-a-go activities including a ‘put and take’ fishery; main arena programmes packed with action and huge tented villages of trade stands packed with bargains and quality products including fine food. BURSTINGWITHMORE FOR 2015


27th & 28th JUNE 2015, SHANES CASTLE, ANTRIM Ireland’s most action packed family event with: • Medieval Jousting • Living History Village

Lurchers & Whippets • Ferrets & Rabbits • Carriage Driving • Dancing Horses • Air Rifles & Archery • Fine Food Pavilion • Cookery Demonstrations • The Dog Guru

• Three Action Packed Arena Programmes • Huge Tented Village with unrivalled shopping opportunities • The NI Angling Show • ‘Put and Take ‘Fishery • Angling Tuition for Children

• Re-enactments • Viking Longship • Falconry • International Gundogs • International Clay Shooting • International Terriers,

For further details see E: Tel: 028 44839167/44615416 The Fair is sponsored by

Irish living history will be brought to life and the hugely successful medieval jousting at both fairs will be a major highlight with the top UK team ‘The Knights from the North.’

You can also meet the knights, vikings and all sorts of military re-enactments in the living history village.

For further details contact: email: irishgamefair@ or call +44 28 4483 9167/4461 5416

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are stabilising with the leading projects showing sizable increases. From the onset the IRGA has enjoyed tremendous support and goodwill of the local hill farmers, who have managed the moors for generations and it is fitting that farmers are getting due recognition for their input under the current Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). While farmers work through the completion of their applications for the new 2015 CAP Schemes, it is rewarding to see a payment of €120 per hectare for commonage management under the Green Low Carbon Agri Environment Scheme (GLAS), which will compensate farmers for managing heather by rotational burning for the benefit of grouse and sustainable sheep numbers. Once the Land Eligibility Rules are established and the Commonage Management Plans are implemented a successful future is envisaged for the Red Grouse as the heather moors will be managed on a planned basis for sheep farming and grouse. The realignment of the moorland burning calendar with the UK will enable farmers to manage the vegetation for the benefit of all moorland breeding birds. The IRGA organise seminars and demonstration days annually for moorland management and grouse propagation and the expertise of the UK’s Heather Trust and Game Conservancy is availed of as required. This busy organisation is open for new conservation projects – for more information check out the IRGA facebook page.

Irish Red Grouse Association- Destined to benefit from CAP Reform

With the foresight of the Countryside Alliance Ireland Board, the Irish Red Grouse Association (IRGA) was established in 2010 and together with the support of the pointer and setter clubs and the Irish Hawking Association this registered charitable Conservation Trust has rekindled a love for this iconic Irish Grouse species which is totally dependant on heather for its survival. Over forty Grouse conservation projects were quickly established with another twenty at various stages of initiation. The prime objective of the IRGA is the conservation of the Red Grouse by empowering local conservation groups with management plans and subsidising predator control equipment. In recognising that the control of predation levels is critical for the propagation of grouse and other moorland birds, the projects are indebted to the local gun club members for the effective year round control of predation on the moors. Another objective of the IRGA is to monitor grouse population and the input of the gundog trialling clubs with biannual counts is establishing that grouse numbers

-Jim Fitzharris , IRGA

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