As 2017 draws to a close...

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As we come to the end of another year at Countryside Alliance Ireland (CAI), the NI political situation remains in disarray with little sign of any resolution.

Whilst we may have been somewhat entertained by the antics of some of the parties, this impasse is now somewhat tiresome and we hope the New Year will bring sense to the political leaders.

Michelle O’Neill was appointed leader of Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland in January and in the Republic of Ireland, Leo Varadkar took office as Taoiseach; following his election as leader of Fine Gael in June 2017. Leo is the youngest Taoiseach in the history of the Irish state.

Mr Varadkar has recently engaged with Theresa May in respect of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and how this may affect the border arrangements between NI and ROI. All are agreed that a return to a ‘hard’ border is not the way forward and while Mrs May was in Brussels on 4 December to discuss a way forward for Brexit with the EU Commission President, Mr Varadkar announced at a press conference in Dublin that he had been in touch with both the EU Commission President and EU Council President to confirm Ireland’s agreement on the form of words about the Irish Border. However, the deal broke down when the DUP refused to accept UK concessions on the Irish Border issue and it was clear that Mr Varadkar was far from amused, given his prior assurance from Mrs May.

It is easy to overlook but the border issue doesn’t just affect trade, it affects our everyday life and indeed us, as country sports enthusiasts who do not wish to see any change or hindrance to our partaking freely in our lawful activities.

Whilst politically things have been quiet for us, throughout the year, Countryside Alliance Ireland has continued to work on behalf of our members in respect of many matters and legislative changes which affect our sporting activities.

The online firearms licensing system continues to develop and the consensus is that it is working well. CAI will continue to work with PSNI FEB to benefit our members going forward and as always we’re here to help if assistance is required.

As 2017 draws to a close it has been our pleasure to engage, help and support you; our members and supporters. The team at Countryside Alliance Ireland wish every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

CAI Holiday Closures

The offices of Countryside Alliance Ireland will be closed for the Christmas holidays from lunchtime on Thursday 21st December until 9am on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.