Countryside Alliance Ireland writes: The Northern Ireland Justice Committee has urged the Department of Justice to rethink their strategy and proposals in relation to changes in firearm licencing fees, gun trade dealer licence fees, young shots and the banded system. The Department of Justice briefed the Justice Committee on their proposals in relation to proposed changes to licencing fees and other related issues.
Department of Justice officials proposed that the cost of a firearm licence would increase from £50 to £100 and the dealer fee would increase from £150 to £528. They also indicated that this would be an interim increase and proposed a further review in 18 months time in order to obtain full cost recovery.
Justice Committee chairman, Paul Givan MLA, made it clear to the the Department officials that their proposals were unacceptable and urged them to proactively engage with stakeholders with a view to delivering realistic options that all parties could sign up to.
Committee member Patsy McGlone MLA, queried why the Department officals had not replied to three requests from stakeholders with regard to their concerns on the proposed banded systems and that this clearly demonstrated a lack of positive engagement by the Department of Justice on these issues.
The Committee made it abundantly clear that they were unhappy with the Department’s proposals that young people would only be allowed to participate in clay pigeon shooting. The Committee chairman Paul Givan MLA indicated that there was no problem in GB where there is no age restiriction and yet again urged the Department officials to engage in a positive manner with stakeholders.
Lyall Plant Chief Executive of Countryside Alliance Ireland said:
“We welcome the support and assistance the Justice Committee have given us in scrutinising these proposals from the Justice Department. We believe that the Department should actively and willingly engage with a view to delivering a result that will benefit all parties”.
Lyall continued: “We will continue to work with The Gun Trade Guild NI and other partner organisations in delivering a postive outcome to these complex issues and we will continue to work closely with the Northern Ireland Justice Committee going forward.”