129. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the membership of the firearms consultative panel; the reason that a representative organisation (details supplied) is not a member; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48513/17]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The re-establishment of the Firearms Consultative Panel (FCP) was part of a package of measures which the previous Minister announced in September 2015 to address both immediate and long term issues in relation to firearms licensing. It is important to have the views of a broad range of interests represented on the panel.  At the same time, it is necessary to strike a balance and not allow this panel to expand to the point where the numbers hamper progress being made. The membership of this panel is made up of the following organisations:
- Sports Coalition
- National Association of Regional Game Councils
- Target Shooting Ireland
- National Rifle Association of Ireland
- Irish Sports Council
- National Parks & Wildlife Service
- Wild Deer Association
- Irish Deer Society
- Irish Clay Pigeon Shooting Association
- Countryside Alliance
- Irish Farmers' Association
- National Association of Sporting Rifle and Pistol Clubs
- An Garda Síochána
Officials from my Department met with the organisation in question in July of this year to discuss matters of concern to them, including matters relevant to firearms dealers. The Department advised that membership of the FCP was at maximum capacity and that there was little benefit to be gained from duplicating representatives of firearms dealers on the group.  In addition, other sectors might well respond by also seeking increased representation, making the whole process unmanageable. In this regard it should be noted there are currently 4 firearms dealers on the group.