Matt Carthy calls on Minister Creed’s intervention to stop Lead-bullet ban
The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has confirmed that he has written to Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, requesting that he intervene to ensure that an EU proposal to ban the use of lead shot bullets is withdrawn until such stage as there is a meaningful consultation with all stakeholders.
While the transposition of this ban will be under the competence of the Minister of the Department for Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, Matt Carthy contends that the implications for farmers are such that an intervention from the Agriculture Minister is warranted.
Matt Carthy said:
“These proposals for a ban on lead shot bullets, as currently muted, are unworkable in my view and would negatively impact farmers as well as game clubs, arguably the most important partners in the delivery of landscape and wildlife conservation. It is suggested that up to 80% of shotguns in Ireland will be rendered unusable with the cost of replacing these guns amounting to over €150m.
“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. In addition, many guns are not suitable for conversion.
“At this point there has been almost no consultation with those to be affected by the proposal. The European Commission enacted a consultation process that had several shortcomings. Considering the particular impact that the proposal would have in Ireland it would be appropriate for the government to withdraw its intention to implement any such legislation until such stage as a comprehensive consultation has taken place with all affected stakeholders at an Irish level; including farming organisations, game clubs and conservation bodies.
“While the matter will, in the last instance, fall on the desk of Minister Josepha Madigan, it would be entirely appropriate for the Agriculture Minister to intervene and demand that the process is halted until a full and robust dialogue has taken place. He should be pressed to do so by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs from the constituencies that will be most affected. Their silence to date on this issue has caused deep concern among gun-owners who have been kept in the dark regarding the government’s plans in this regard.
“For our part, we in Sinn Féin will continue to engage with all interested parties. Of course, we are keen to see measures enacted that will protect and conserve our environment but we will not endorse unworkable or tokenistic proposals that would isolate the very partners we need in the delivery of these objectives”.