North Louth

Louth gun owners refute Dundalk councillor claims on game shooting

North Louth

Donard McCabe

Reporter:

Donard McCabe

Louth gun owners refute Dundalk councillor claims on game shooting

Louth gun owners refute Dundalk councillor claims on game shooting

Members of a north Louth gun club have refuted claims made by a Louth County Councillor regarding game shooting on the Cooley Peninsula.

At the January Louth County Council meeting, Cllr Peter Savage informed those present of his intention to introduce a motion that the north Louth area would be declared a game sanctuary.

Cllr Savage also spoke of the pheasants in the area, saying that shooters, few of whom are even from the area, were going “home with a [bunch] of them across their shoulders.”

Joe Mulholland, a member of Jenkinstown Gun Club spoke to The Democrat last week, refuting the claims made by Cllr Savage, saying that he could provide “a very long list” of locals who are all members of the many local gun clubs.

Mr Mulholland spoke of the work himself and many others in local gun clubs do, to maintain the pheasant numbers and wildlife numbers in general in the area.

Joe wondered if Cllr Savage was aware that pheasants are not a native bird and were introduced to Ireland in the 16th century.

“The only reason you see pheasants, Mr Savage”, he said, “is because they have been bred, fed and released by gun clubs. They are not a self sustaining species and would soon die out unless numbers are replenished each year.”

Joe also referred to the work done by local gun owners in terms of vermin control, talking specifically about the “devastation caused by grey crows, magpies and foxes”.

“I can give you many examples”, he continues, “of work done by members of the hunting/ shooting community to preserve the countryside.

“A classic example is the re-emergence of our native red squirrel, which has made a dramatic recovery in recent times.”

According to Joe, the red squirrel has made a return to the Cooley Peninsula, saying that at the back of his own house he sees up to five red squirrels on a daily basis, with them even coming up their back door to eat the seeds that he leaves out for them.

He also sees the work they do as a factor in the return of the pine marten to the region.