NIPA racing is postponed again

Willie Bond top season in Coleraine.
Willie Bond top season in Coleraine.

NIPA Racing was put back one week and now starts at Tullamore this Saturday, 21st April.

This decision was taken by the Race/Liberation Committee based on the welfare of the birds with little training days available due to the prolonged period of very poor weather conditions.

The race programme will follow as already agreed, without change from Tullamore on 21st April. The additional week will give all lofts the opportunity to complete their training and give extra time to make application to MAC, just added were Robert Service & Son Robin and Jimmy Rock. All being well when this race season is complete I intend to write to each local club that have yet to join MAC giving an update of changes made and a copy of the new rules.

It would also be my intention, at some stage, to have the MAC consider that where a club vote to re-join there would be an opt-out arrangement for those who wish to remain outside membership. Because of the current arrangements for sponsorship it is not necessary for club members to pay fees, we just collect a club fee which stands at a nominal £3.00. Members should remember to have all their race birds wing stamped, or a phone number ring, or an ETS phone sticker on your birds - NIPA rules lads.

Charity auction

A public pigeon charity auction in memory of Phebe Calderwood is to be held on Thursday, 26th April 2018 at Chimney Corner FC, Antrim.

Birds can be viewed from 7.00pm. Auction will begin at 7.30/8.00pm. Free entry. Everyone welcome. Light buffet available. All donations are in aid of Macmillan Nurses Palliative Care Antrim Area. Contact Linda Kernohan, Ballymena. The following is a list of fanciers who have donated to date: Jim Braniff, Sid Collins, Alan Darragh, Owen Markey, Donnelly Bros, Oroory Hill Stud, Herbie Thorpe, Sheldon Leonard, Diamond Bros, Ron McKelvey, Harmony Lofts, Delaney & McCambridge, Jimmy Rock, J & D Braniff, Blane McAvoy, Micheal Rabbitt, Jeff Greenaway, Harry McCloy, P & K McCarthy, Bingham & Seaton, D & J Campbell, Cherryfield Lofts.

Big sale in Ballymena & District

Ballymena & District held a fund raising sale on behalf of the club last Saturday evening attended by many members and friends.

The members of the Ballymena & District HPS would like to thank the following members for their kind donation towards the Young Bird Sale: Young McManus & sons Ahoghill, Danny Dixon Ballymoney HPS, Harry McCloy and Sammy Steele Cullybackey HPS.

Many thanks as well to Ballymena Vice Chairman Martin Graham who set the sale up and sold the birds on the night, all the members who supplied birds and those who purchased same, also Steve McGarry through all his help with the on-line bidding on Pigeon Craic.

Navan training

Wednesday 2 Bird lorry will be back out training from Navan every Wednesday. Same as last year, load up in the yard Connagher Road on the Tuesday night from 18.30hrs to 20.30hrs. Birdage is 30p a bird. Here is the pick-up times and stops for training from Navan every Wednesday: Dixons Yard Dunloy 06.00hrs, Rasharkin 06.15hrs, Cullybackey 06.45hrs, Harryville 07.00hrs, Dunsilly 07.15hrs, and new stop at Moira Services 07.50hrs, on Glenavy Road just before Moira Roundabout.

Letter to local MP

Hopefully all clubs and members are sending back the request for their local MP to join the new All Party Group at Westminster for pigeon racing. You will be aware that an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has been set up to help promote and raise awareness of pigeon racing.

In addition we hope to use this group to address some of the issues we face as a sport. For example the Raptor problem. We are currently working with a Lobbying group to amend the Wildlife and Countryside Act to provide more protection for our birds. It is hoped that this will be completed by the end of 2018.

In order for this to be successful we require cross party representation on the APPG. Therefore please could you encourage all your members to complete and forward the letter to their relevant MP asap. The amendment consists of a proposal to classify Racing Pigeons as Livestock within the Wildlife and Countryside Act. This will provide certain protection associated with Livestock. Although this will not be an answer to all our problems it will be a step in the right direction. Your cooperation in this matter will be very much appreciated. Ian Evans Chief Executive.

Transporter training

In Ballymena Robert Alexander and Homer have started the season training, after a spell of poor weather. Usual collection times. Robert Alexander Tel: 07873 816832, Willie Reynolds Tel: 07538 238364.

Joe Brown will start training this weekend - usual collections and birds released in Ardee. Tel: 07709 077266.

Williamson transporter will start Monday 9th April - usual times and pick-ups. Birds can be hampered the night before or up to 8.00am morning of toss. For any enquiries call 07841 762399.

Birds will be collected at these points: Edgarstown Park (Robinsons Bar) 8.15am, Ballyoran Hill 8.25am, Edgarstown Park (Robinsons Bar) 8.40am, Laurelvale Clubrooms 9.00am, Markethill Corner 9.30am, Newry Playing Fields 9.50am. Please Note: New Collection Times. More training information listed here when available. Rosie starts pigeon training from Monday 16th of April - gap of the north pick up points, East End 9-9.15, Park Centre 9.30, Sprucefield 9.45, A1 Tyres 9.55, Outlet 10.00.

Dublin Airport meeting

On Monday a NIPA delegation travelled to Dublin Radisson Hotel for the annual meeting with Dublin Airport Authority.

Those attending included Sam Briggs President, Fred Russell Secretary, Malcolm Livingstone Vice President, Jim Ramsey Race Advisor and Willie Reynolds PO. Other pigeon members in attendance included Sam Duke and Brendan McLaughlin for EDC, Eugene Fitzgerald IHU, Mick Gorman and Eddie Campbell ECF.

From 2013 until April 2017 there were no pigeon strikes to report however in April we had three strikes within a month and this caused concern.

Thankfully the rest of the year was clear but another strike was reported in March 2018 which was the first reported in this month of the year and a full month prior to racing.

Organisations supplied race programmes for 2018 season and unless something major turns up the next meeting will be arranged for April in 2019.

I have included a few photos of the Coleraine Premier presentation of prizes.