The proposal has been vigorously opposed by the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), who claim to be the largest voluntary organisation in Ireland.
The proposal which was recently put forward by the National Parks and Wildlife services, is proposing a ban be implemented between midnight and 6a.m. between the months of September and March.
The proposal is currently being considered by the Firearms Consultative Panel of the Department of Justice and Equality.
The NARGC described the proposal as being “flawed” and have outlined their intention to oppose the proposal. They claim the proposal will affect gun club members in vermin control methods, it also says that 90% of foxes are hunted at night. They also claim that hunters given permission by farmers to enter land at night can cover up the area of up to 100 farms on a typical night. They also say that due to a clear shot being needed to hunt foxes and foxes darting between different boundary lines, that it would be impossible for hunters to inform farmers of their entry to and departure from lands. The group added that these afore-mentioned gun members are the “eyes of the community” and that they supply An Garda with a significant amount of information on various different illegal activities they may come across on their travels.
The group also say this proposed ban will have a huge impact on the ecosystem, with fox numbers expected to increase dramatically and therefore have an effect on ground resting bird numbers. They also suggest that this increased number of foxes will lead to them preying on lambs and poultry from farms, “Farm animals such as lambs and domestic poultry are going to be seriously impacted by the increase in fox numbers”.
The proposal has been backed by Minister Humphreys who said she would support any best practice guidelines which promotes safety and health but also protect farmers and their livelihoods.
The proposal comes after a recent news story coming from Kerry, where the Gardaí plan to clamp down on lamping at night for rabbits, and where they have urged elderly people to report any lamping taking place.
Minister Humphreys said it is her understanding that a report has been produced by a working group set up by the Firearms Consultative Panel of the Department of Justice and Equality which recommends best practice guidelines on the issue of shooting and hunting at night.
She said the report which is now with the Firearms Consultative Panel itself and it is a matter for that body to further consider the recommendations in the report and she would support any best practice guidelines that promote health and safety but at the same time allows farmers/landowners protect their livelihoods.
The move comes as Gardaí in Kerry have said they want to clamp down on 'lamping rabbits' and have issued an appeal to the public, particularly elderly people in rural areas, to report sightings.
A meeting took place a few months ago between senior Gardaí members and local farmers concerned about increased interference with livestock and fencing on their lands.
Gardaí now think that people lamping may be used as a charade for potential thieves to have a look around farms and eye up potential thefts. They described it as “an opportunistic activity” and provides an excuse for people to trespass and look around.The decision on the proposed ban will take place over the coming weeks, with both sides fighting for a resolution to the matter