543. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the extent to which she proposes to take on board submissions made by sporting, shooting and gun clubs, with particular reference to the need to ensure that, while best practice in terms of storage and operation is applied, due regard is provided to the valid concerns of such sporting bodies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20843/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): In light of public safety concerns highlighted by An Garda Síochána, a joint Department of Justice and Equality/ An Garda Síochána Working Group was established by the Department of Justice and Equality to review firearms licensing. The report of this Working Group was published on 13 November 2014 and submissions on the report were sought from stakeholders and the public by 31 January 2015. The consultation process gave individuals and groups an opportunity to contribute to the development of firearms policy and legislation and will enable consideration to be given to the future direction of such legislation.
The Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality also sought submissions and held hearings with interested parties in relation to the Working Party report and published an interim report on the matter.
As part of the process of consultation I gave a commitment that I would not make any decisions until I had met the key stakeholders, including the organisations who represent those who use firearms for sporting purposes. I had a useful meeting with the key stakeholders on 29 April 2015 and consideration of the issues involved, including the concerns of those who use firearms for sporting purposes, is continuing.