BASC NI briefs Assembly Agriculture Committee chair on the benefits of shooting

The Value of Shooting to Northern Ireland’s economy, countryside and social well-being were highlighted to the chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Agriculture Committee during a meeting with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC NI).

BASC NI director Tommy Mayne and DUP MLA William Irwin, Chair of the Agriculture Committee, discussed a range of important issues affecting shooting in NI.

Speaking after the meeting, Tommy Mayne said, “We are very grateful for the opportunity to meet Mr Irwin and to highlight the economic and conservation benefits of shooting in Northern Ireland.

“We discussed a number of other issues affecting shooting including proposals to increase licensing fees; reducing the age at which young people can be taught to use shotguns and airguns under supervision and the introduction of a banded system for firearms licensing, allowing owners to exchange one firearm for another within a set band.

“We also discussed the use snares as an effective and humane method of predator and pest control and the use of working dogs to find, flush and retrieve quarry for shooting.”

Mr Irwin said: “I had a productive meeting with BASC NI. I was pleased to learn of the £28 million annual contribution that shooting makes to the Northern Ireland economy.  This is a significant figure and as a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s All Party Group on Country Sports, I am happy to support lawful shooting sports.  I recognise that pest and predator control are integral parts of the management of our countryside and the benefits to the environment and nature conservation are significant.”