The NARGC submitted its Deer Stalking Course, certified by Lantra, to the Minister for Arts Heritage & the Gaeltacht (AHG), Ms. Josepha Madigan T.D., and also to The National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS), in June of 2019 with a request that each for them might indicate their satisfaction as the relevant Statutory Agencies in Ireland, in charge of this area and who are also charged with issuing Deer Stalking licences.
Originally the NPWS had indicated it would require evidence of competency for new Deer Stalking Licence applicants. This was in 2018. The NPWS then deferred this requirement for two years until 2020. We are now in 2020 and very little, if anything, seems to have been done meantime.
Frustrated by no contact or acknowledgement from each of these entities of having received our Course, we contacted them and met them briefly on the 7th November 2019. The Officials we met indicated they were contemplating putting the ‘evidence requirement’ back a further year to 2021. They promised us they would publish the criteria or requirements, any intended course would need to meet, in order to get their approval. This was to happen “within 2 weeks”. Nine weeks have now passed, and nothing has happened despite an email reminder from the NARGC to them in mid-December 2019.
Significantly, the NPWS officials indicated to us that they had not approved any course from ourselves in the NARGC or indeed from any other Organisation or Group.
We have hundreds of our members waiting to complete our Course and it is highly frustrating for us, and for our students, that the NPWS seems to have done very little on this, which fulfils a requirement they propose to demand from new Deer Stalking Licence applicants.
We apologise to our students who signed up with us for our Course many months ago and it is mystifying to comprehend what is really going on within the NPWS. We had to cancel one proposed course in Kildare, as it would be highly disingenuous to tell students it is approved, when in fact it is not.
We will of course hold the Minister and the NPWS to account for their in-action and indifference in this matter.