Carthy calls for rejection of current EU proposal to ban lead shot bullets
The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has called on the Irish government, and the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) to reject a current EU proposal to ban the use of lead bullets by hunters and farmers. Carthy has said that the proposal should be withdrawn until such stage as there is a meaningful consultation with all stakeholders.
The HSA has been designated the competent authority for Ireland concerning the authorisation of chemicals, including lead, in the EU. This means it will be responsible for approving the proposed ban when the EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals committee (REACH) meets next week.
Matt Carthy said:
“The Irish government and the HSA, as the representative authority for Ireland, must relate the concerns raised by Irish farmers and the National Association of Regional Game Councils. The current proposal for a ban must be rejected and a redraft submitted to stakeholders for consultation.
“In the last number of months, I have highlighted the failings of the previous consultation to the European Commissioner Karmenu Vella and European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly. But the commission has proceeded with its proposal nevertheless.
“Farmers and game clubs are among the most important partners in the delivery of landscape and wildlife conservation. It makes no sense to enact proposals that will negatively impact on them without first ensuring a comprehensive consultation. Farmers account for more than half of gun users in Ireland. With the cost of replacing a gun ranging between €750 to €1,000, this is a burden that many will be unable to bear.
“If farmers seek to have their guns modified to comply with the new legislation, which would ban lead shot in favour of steel, they cannot do so in this country as the facilities for doing so do not exist here. Many guns are simply not suitable for conversion.
“I am again calling on government representatives, along with the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs who keep them in power, to assert the position of Irish stakesholders and demand that the Commission withdraw their current proposal until an adequate engagement with stakeholders has taking place.
“The European Parliament does have power of scrutiny of such legislation before it comes into law and I will be working at that level to insert the concerns of Irish game clubs and farmers into the debate. However, we need the government to become proactive. The basis of this proposal was agreed by a Fianna Fáil government in 1999 and every subsequent government have nodded in agreement. Yet, those who will be affected have never been properly consulted and most have only become aware of its existence in recent weeks. This is not the way to build support for conservation measures.
“Sinn Féin support measures aimed at protecting and conserving our environment but the way to do this is in partnership with essential shareholders rather than behind their backs”.