An all- party group on country sports has been set up in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The group will provide a forum for politicians to discuss issues affecting country sports and the contribution they make to conservation, rural life, tourism and the economy.
The British Association for Shooting and Conservation in Northern Ireland (BASC NI) will provide the secretariat for the group which will be under the chairmanship of Lord Morrow (DUP). The group has been established in order to “Develop, foster, promote and protect country sports and conservation activities across Northern Ireland, recognising the social, economic and cross-community benefits”.
Lord Morrow said: “I would like to thank BASC for the work which has led to the formation of the all-party group. The group will provide a valuable focus for politicians to take an active interest in country sports. For example, it is clear from the first presentation given by BASC that there are some areas of concern with our firearms licensing system and I look forward to working in partnership with the group to address these and the other issues which affect country sports in Northern Ireland.”
Tommy Mayne, director of BASC NI said: “It was clear from the outset that there is significant interest in the all-party group. More than twenty elected members agreed to join before the inaugural meeting. This first meeting provided an opportunity for BASC to highlight the value of country sports to the economy and the potential for growing tourism in the sector. We also discussed delays within our firearms licensing system and the potential for a recreational deerstalking scheme to help with deer management on Forest Service Woodland.”
Lord Morrow (DUP) was elected as chairperson of the group. Danny Kinahan (UUP) was elected vice chairperson. Francie Molloy (SF) was elected secretary and Patsy McGlone (SDLP) nominated as treasurer. Members of the group accepted an invitation from Paul Givan, MLA for Lagan Valley, to attend the National Country Sports Fair in Moira on the 25th and 26th of May.
Picture (left to right) :
Francie Molloy (Sinn Fein MLA), Amanda McCallion (BASC NI), Lord Maurice Morrow (DUP MLA), Paul Givan (DUP MLA & Chairman of Justice Committee), Tommy Mayne (Director BASC NI), Laura Morrison (BASC NI), Danny Kinahan (UUP MLA).
For more information please call BASC NI on 028 9260 5050 or the press office on 01244 573052.