Stalkers will be aware of the publication on February 12, 2008 of Statutory Instrument No. 21 of 2008, which provided for new regulations affecting firearms. In particular, it was intended that a new category of “Restricted” firearms be created, applicable (so far as deerstalkers are concerned) to all firearms of calibre greater than .308. Restricted firearms (to include rifles of calibre greater than .308, also handguns) were, under the new regulations, to be licensed under specific conditions. Unrestricted firearms were to include all rifles of calibre up to and including .308. The commencement date for the new regulations was to have been May 1, 2008.

As a result of the judgment of the High Court in the O’Leary case (decided on April 25, 2008 – reported in the Irish Times on April 26, 2008), and as a result of advice to the Government from the Attorney General to the effect that Statutory Instruments giving effect to the firearm amendments must apply to full sections of the Act and not to part sections of the Act, it is now the case that some of the planned roll-out of the new Firearms Code will be delayed at least until the enactment of the Firearms Miscellaneous Bill which is due for publication on the 3rd of July 2008 under the Programme for Government. As a result, the intended classification of Restricted Firearms will not now be applied on the 1st May 2008 as previously planned.

It is understood that the Firearms Consultative Panel will be addressing the full implications of the revised situation over coming weeks. Any relevant information received will be posted here. However the Deer Alliance is not represented on the Firearms Consultative Panel. The Irish Deer Society is directly represented and it is understood that Countryside Alliance Ireland indirectly represent other organised deer interests including the Wild Deer Association of Ireland.

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