From Irish Shooting Politics:
An initial reply was received via Twitter from Labour:
@MarkDennehy Sorry for the delay on this Mark, we should be with you tomorrow.
This seemed promising so I asked if they could answer some more specific questions.
@MarkDennehy Of course. Could you forward your questions to email@example.com please? Twitter doesn’t suit detailed answers.
I forwarded on this email:
As discussed on Twitter, I’d like to ask for some further details with respect to your party’s intentions if a Labour TD were appointed as Minister for Justice in the area of the Firearms Act?
- Would there be plans to increase the current level of regulation or to roll back the current level in order to harmonise our regulations with other EU states?
- Would (s)he be willing to remove centerfire target pistols from the Restricted Firearms list, thus allowing them to be licenced again?
- Would (s)he be willing to deregulate target shooting airguns up to 7.5 Joules of muzzle energy as opposed to the current 1 Joule permitted under the Act in order to promote Olympic target shooting in Ireland?
- Would they address the issues raised by medical associations regarding the application for a firearms licence and its implicit – but deemed insufficient by the GPs – granting of permission to Gardai to access medical records?
- Would they be willing to widen the remit of the Firearms Consultation Panel, to make it a permanent body to facilitate access to technical expertise for the Department and to strengthen communications links between the target shooting sports governing bodies and the Department and the Gardai to ensure the smooth working of the Firearms Act?
- What would they intend to do at a strategic level to alleviate the current problems with licencing which have resulted in nearly 200 cases being taken against Garda Superintendents in the District Courts at great expense to all?
And received this reply today:
Thank you for your message to the Labour Party. Pat Rabbitte our Spokesperson on Justice has asked me to refer you to his Second Stage speech when Bill was going through the Dail.
Whoever is Minister for Justice will have to take professional and Garda advice on the detail of this.
I attach the extract from the Dail Debate on the issue.
This was not a very useful answer, and so I responded:
Thank you for your reply Dermot, but I’m afraid that it doesn’t address or answer any of the questions I posed, and Pat Rabbitte’s speech on the Second Stage of the 2009 Act couldn’t address several of the points I was asking about because they didn’t arise at the time.
For example, the current issues with licencing which have led to nearly 200 cases being taken against Garda Superintendents and Chief Superintendents in the District and High Courts, simply were not arising at the time that Pat Rabbitte made that speech.
Also, several of those points require no consultation with professional groups or the Gardai in order to form an opinion on.
For example, making the Firearms Consultation Panel (a panel of representatives from the various shooting governing bodies as well as the Department of Sport, the Department of Justice, the Gardai and other stakeholders such as the IFA) a permanent panel rather than one which would be dissolved following the final commencement of the last parts of the 2006 Act, does not require outside consultation to form a policy on because the decision to extend it or dissolve it is purely a decision made on the basis of how Labour would intend to consult with professional groups and the Gardai should a Labour TD be appointed Minister for Justice, and surely they would already know how they intended to talk to people.
I understand completely that technical proposals in law would entail the seeking of professional and operational advice from various sources; however overall intentions and strategies are not nearly so complex.
I would appreciate it if you could refer the question back to Pat Rabbitte as the current spokesperson for Justice in Labour, and ask him if he could provide a more considered reply. Given that some 200,000 voters hold firearms licences in Ireland at the moment, it would seem to be worth at few more moments of his time, depsite the enormous pressure he’s under with the election campaign at the moment.
I would also like to extend an invitation to the Labour party to discuss the topic on http://shooting.boards.ie with a representative cross-section of the 200,000 licenced firearms holders.
And the reply was:
The previous reply is the considered reply from Pat Rabbitte and that is the current position.
I have repeated my request for further consideration to be made; if I receive a response, I’ll post it here.