The long awaited Miscellaneous provisions bill 2009 is due for publication in the coming days. This bill will be the first recognition of Airsoft in Irish law and is a good forward step forward in protecting our sport and putting it on a statutory footing.
Amongst other subjects covered in the legislation, we anticipate that the bill will contain a head (a ‘head’ is a part of a bill that grants the minister the power to make secondary legislation, and the scope of such) giving the government the power to make regulations for Airsoft. As it stands the head will have no impact until secondary legislation is brought in to give effect to its component parts. The IAA is very grateful that the Department of Justice is taking submissions from us with regard to the shape and direction of this regulation, this will be in line with the outcome of our January meeting with them. A copy of the meeting information can be found on our website under 'Meeting minutes and notes".
The wording of the bill when published may give rise for concern to some as it is drafted is broad plain terms, words like Sale, Supply, Age, Appearance, Storage, may be contained in it. The Airsoft section would be a head, and not effective law until a secondary law is passed outlining the details of the measures. As requested, we will be submitting a draft set of regulations to the department based on the outcome of the previous meeting. As always we will keep you appraised of any further developments.
Again the Committee would like to thank the staff at the department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform for involving us directly in the regulatory process for our sport.
As soon as we recieve the wording of the bill, we will open a discussion thread on our forums.
A large Irish contingent visited Sennybridge, Wales for Phoenix Rising 3. These comprised significant numbers from The Ghosts, Band of Hawks and An Orde Nua. This opened the eyes of a lot of players to what play is like on a larger scale, and many of the attendees are already planning trips to future events in the UK and beyond.
- New Blood
We had several new people come on board the IAA committee, both executive and advisory. We're pleased to welcome Aidan Quinlivan as our secretary, Bernard Lyons as our Safety and Training Officer, and Gareth Neville as our Events officer. We've already held our first committee meeting as a larger committee, and look forward to bigger and better things as we move forward, with more people on board.
As always, if you're interested in helping out with the IAA, we'd love to hear from you! We're currently looking for people to develop our Marshal training program, and are stil looking for regional/site reps to manage the ever-growing comunity and the sites that seem to be appearing out of nowhere all over the country.
Our big push this year has been information. We love information, and we love sharing it with you as soon as we can. Not every little piece of news needs to go on the front page of www.irishairsoft.ie, so we've jumped on the twitter bandwagon. You can see our latest updates on events, photos and where the committee are skirmishing so you can some and say hello at http://www.twitter.com/irishairsoft. The updates are also available in the corner of our homepage
We're pleased to announce that MAC came onboard as our newest IAA affiliate in April. Their site, Shadowlands, has to be seen to be believed. More on this on our front page.
The country has very much thawed out at this point, and we're pleased to see a number of sites in the Dublin area springing up. However, we're also now seeing a considerable number of sites and retailers opening outside Dublin, which is very encouraging. We'll be paying a visit to new sites as they open, and will keep you informed.
It is with regret that we announce the retirement of Conor Scolard from the IAA committee. Conor tendered his resignation a week ago due to new demands on his time, and is in the process of handing over his responsibilities.
Conor has served on the IAA committee for over a year, as Community Liaison Officer, and more recently as Chairperson. His insight, drive and passion for the job will be sorely missed. However, he leaves us in an excellent position, with some fresh faces and a new drive to protect and further our sport.
We hope to follow the example of his determination in a good direction for all airsofters, and are confident the newly-expanded committee will be more than up to the task.
In Conor’s absence, Dave O’Connor will step in as Acting Chairperson.
There are many things being thrown around about what the bill will or will not do, our document should clear up parts of that but there is still ambiguity and much concern about certain parts. We welcome the legitimisation of Airsoft this Bill provides, but there is still a way to go before we will be happy with its wording and implementation. Let us try to highlight part of our position. These are the high-order issues as we see them.
We have received overwhelming expressions of unhappiness with the issue of personal imports of Airsoft devices from the community as a whole. We realise that there are many collectors and specialised skirmishers who may wish to purchase items unavailable in retail stores. While most retail stores we know of are able to make special orders, we feel that there should be some compromise when it comes to individuals purchasing what are essentially toys or sporting equipment. There are also some clarifications to be made with regard to personal sales of used equipment and repairs. Personal sale and repair of items that have no restriction on ownership should not be restricted.
We are not happy with S.35(9B) (Superintendent permission for sites) in its current form. We believe that sites do not pose any form of threat to the community and that the planning acts combined with existing trespass law is sufficient to remedy any issues arising in this area. As we outlined in our MPB document, we have already encountered issues with superintendents attempting to close a site for no reason but their own. This is completely unacceptable, and at the very least we will be lobbying for adjustments to this section so all rules of fair procedure and natural justice apply. The committee anticipated a section of the bill containing broad ranging powers that require no oversight, to this end we conducted research in similar areas of legislation on how the implementation can be tempered and also kept in line with standard procedure of the government.
There is a lot of speculation that the minister can simply ban us, or restrict us to two-tone or clear plastic guns at the drop of a hat stemming from this bill, S.35(9G-9H). This is not the case, a consultation process with the Garda Commissioner must be followed and any such order may be voided by the Dáil. The IAA will be strongly pushing for better security for us in this section, including an automatic voiding instrument for all restrictive measures that are not ratified by the house. We will also be seeking a meeting with the Garda Commissioner to clarify our position.
The IAA is still looking for your input on what we should address to the DoJ and government, its your sport, we work for you! Send all feedback and comments to email@example.com
After gathering feedback from all corners of the community, the committee has submitted its latest document to the DoJ with regard to the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2009. We would like to thank all the members and non-members who sent us your feedback and concerns about the MPB. Without this information we would not be able to give a true reflection to the Government departments of the feelings of the community.
The mood coming out of the Department of Justice remains extremely positive about the future of Irish Airsoft and we thank their staff for their diligent work. We will keep you up to date with developments as they happen.
We’d like to update you on some of the things we’ve been up to in recent weeks. We’ve been pretty quiet in the last while, which is mainly due to a lot of things being in the pipeline. We’d like to bring you up to date on some things we’ve been up to.
Firstly, we’ve been in extensive consultations with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform about the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill. We’ve heard encouraging things about some of the parts of the bill you asked us about. Specifically, it is not the intention of the bill to curtail private second-hand sales. There will also be oversight for superintendent permission for sites within the Garda structure. We’ll update you with more as we get it. We’re currently drawing up detailed standards for retailer licensing and site permission at the request of the department. We’ll publish these as soon as we submit them, and as always invite feedback and suggestions from the community and venues and retailers, be they members or affiliates or not.
We’d like to congratulate the Irish team who attended Berget 7 in Sweden last week. As always, the Irish emerged with a spotless reputation as fantastic, honest, and effective players. Long may it continue! The IAA gave each player who attended a unique “Na Fianna” tricolour patch, so if you see someone on a site with one over the next while, ask them for their war stories!
Na Fianna Patch
We’re also delighted to see our affiliates expanding. Airsoft Reloaded and G-TAC have both announced the opening of new venues for Airsoft, and we’ll be sure to let you know more as we know it. We’ll be carrying out site inspections in the near future as they’re built and playtested, and if the existing sites built by G-TAC and Airsoft Reloaded are anything to go by, we’re very excited to see the results! We’ve also gotten word of another of our affiliates opening a new venue. Stay tuned for further info as it happens.
Lastly, we’re now up and running on getactive.ie, the online portal for Irish people wishing to find a new activity to stay active and healthy. getactive.ie is run in conjunction with the Sports Council and the Federation of Irish Sports. Airsoft is a fantastic way to keep in shape and exercising, and we’ll be using this high-traffic site to promote airsoft as a sport suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more information very soon.
A number of media outlets have been in contact for a statement regarding the recent incident in Cloonlara Drive in Finglas, where an An Post employee was shot with an ‘air rifle’ while delivering post in the area.
We have been in contact with the Garda press office, who have stated that no device has been recovered. However, the IAA would like to make clear that based on the description of the postman’s injuries as being a ‘nasty flesh wound’ and his hospital visit, we can state with certainty that this incident did not involve an Airsoft device.
An Airsoft device is incapable of penetrating even bare skin at point blank range or causing permanent damage to the unprotected eye. They use a small and light plastic pellet which is incapable of causing permanent injury, and are unable to fire heavier metal projectiles.
The device used in this assault would have to have been over the legal power limit of one joule, and would be classed as a firearm. An ‘air rifle’ of this kind would typically fire a lead or steel pellet or bullet, and require a license to own.
The IAA and all in the airsoft community utterly condemn all illegal acts done to innocent people in the course of their jobs, especially gun crime. We wish the An Post employee involved a speedy recovery, and hope the individual responsible is caught and faces the full consequences.
In communications with the Department of Justice, we discussed the implementation timeline of the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, specifically the issue of when the restrictions on importation of RIF will take effect. The department currently has no hard and fast dates for this but the thinking behind it is that it cannot be brought in until the Retail Licensing process has been rolled out, in order to not affect the supply of goods to the market.
While we think it would be irresponsible to give any more concrete dates, we suspect it will not be for several months. We will be meeting with he relevant authorities before then to discuss the specific licensing requirements, which we hope will be along the lines of our recommendations, which we have published on our website in the last few weeks.
Along similar lines to our recommendations for RIF retail, the IAA were asked to submit proposals for guidelines for district superintendent permission for the operation of venues. These guidelines would be used by District Superintendents in order to determine if a venue is suitable and does not impose on public safety.
The IAA is delighted to announce it has secured Irish Airsoft’s position on the GetActive.ie website. GetActive.ie is Ireland’s online sport, health and fitness community. They have a number of directories to help you live an active and healthy lifestyle, and also provide fun, informative social networking features that allow members to interact and engage with friends and the wider community. The inclusion of airsoft in this portal opens up our sport, activities and events to the much wider audience of the general population who use the site the find new sports and activities to become involved in. The committee will be maintaining the Airsoft section with Activities and venue information on an ongoing basis and we hope it will begin a influx of new players into our sport.
The phasing in of the sections of the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous provisions) Bill 2009 into Irish law will commence later today. It will begin with section 40. 9(A) 9(B) and 9(C). They will officially become law, although 9(B), requirement for permission to operate a venue where RIF will be used and 9(C) requirement for permission to be a retailer of RIF will not be technically operational. We expect the implementation process for these elements to be finished in later September / October. The IAA were contacted by the Department of Justice today, and will be meeting with the Department to devise a process that will ensure no disruption to the community.
Section 40. 9(A) is the provision making it illegal to brandish a replica firearm in a public place. This section was called for by the IAA and the text of it closely mirrors our submission to the Dáil sub committee on Justice in 2008. The inclusion of a specific offence for producing or carrying in an unsuitable manner a replica imitation firearm is an important step to bring our sport into a more socially acceptable position. The committee hopes people who flaunt this law are prosecuted to its full extent.
Once again we would like to thank the staff of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform for their diligent attention to the issues surrounding our sport. The spirit of co-operation between the IAA and the department that has been on-going since early last year has seen the securing of our sport into the future.
IAA News Update The IAA is pleased to announce our two newest affiliates, who joined us over the bank holiday weekend - Predator Combat Games and South-East Airsofters Club.
Predator Combat Games has been a favourite destination for Irish Airsofters for quite a while, and has one of the most dedicated and hard-working marshalling teams we’ve seen. Miceal and his crew run a tight ship, and this was shown over the weekend with their Red Hammer event. The site comprises dense woodland, very well-developed bases and a village, and plenty of car parking as well as a fantastically-equipped safe zone. We hope to see more and more Irish players making the (short!) trip to Co. Down and Predator, and look forward to seeing more northern players at sites in the Republic. See our page on playing abroad for information you need for playing in Northern Ireland and www.predatorcombat.com for the Predator website.
Pictured are Miceal Murtagh (PCG), Dave O’Connor (IAA)
For several months now, South-East Airsofters Club has been operating their site, SEACOM, in Wexford. They are one of the many examples of passionate Airsofters that build up their sites and presences from pure love of the sport. This is very clear when you visit their site. The members have an impressive site at their location in Wexford, and are dedicated to continually improving it. The woodland site is on a mountain side, and comprises 11 acres of woodland, with plenty of cover, both natural and constructed of natural materials. You can see their website and forums at http://www.sea-c.net/
Pictured are Joseph Mullins (SEAC) , Dave O’Connor (IAA)
We’re delighted to see more and more quality venues signing up to our voluntary code of conduct, and becoming IAA affiliates. We rely on the support of our affiliates, and their feedback, to set a direction for how we do things. We’ve got more and more affiliates coming on board over the coming weeks, and this will only improve Airsoft’s reputation as being a sport with a responsible and effective system of self-governance.
The IAA is delighted to announce that it has secured a discounted insurance package for Affiliates with Ireland’s leading leisure and entertainment insurer, PJT Insurance Services Ltd.
PJT is already one of the largest insurers of Airsoft sites in Ireland, and is the number one insurance company for the leisure and entertainment industry.
This deal is an acknowledgement that IAA-affiliated sites represent the cream of the crop of Airsoft businesses in Ireland, and that signing up and following our code of conduct measurably reduces risk, and affects the bottom line when it comes to essential services such as insurance.
The theme of growth in Airsoft is continuing across the country with the official opening of G-Tac’s second venue, Urban Xtreme. The venue is an indoor skirmishing wonderland, a multi-level venue moving from offices with furniture to overhead walkways to murky warehouses. The venue is large and challenging, it features many possible routes to reach your objective and many types of obstacles to traverse, including stairs!
We’re excited to see more indoor venues of such a high standard opening, especially as the colder, darker months drive the less hardy players indoors.
We’re also happy to see the first event at G-TAC Urban Xtreme - The Cancer Care West Charity Team Event (http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2055653868) will take place on Sunday 6th September. We’d like to encourage all teams in the area (and beyond!) to get themselves down to support this worthy cause, and play this fantastic venue.
Evelyn, Martin and their marshals have done a superb job and we wish them the best in the future. G-Tac 2 is open for bookings only and also caters for corporate groups. More information can be found at http://www.g-tac.eu/.
IAA News Update As many affiliates and non-affiliates have been in contact with us asking about various topics, we have recently been in contact with the Department of Justice with regard to same.
The Department has come back to us to describe the process for registration as a RIF retailer. They expect to have a form for registering interest in the coming week, which you can return to the department. This will then prompt a visit from your local Crime Prevention Officer, to ensure compliance with the regulations.
As to the regulations, we have seen a close to final draft of these. They are along similar lines to our recommendations, which are available in the “Official Documents” section of our website. We appreciate all affiliates who came back to us with feedback and revisions for these recommendations, and they were very much appreciated by the Department. We expect these to be published very soon, probably along with the form for registration.
The target date for introducing the import restriction on RIF has been set to 1st January 2010 by our contacts at the department. The usual caveats around deadlines apply – this is not set in stone yet, but is a reasonable estimate.
We have also been asked by several affiliates and concerned players about whether clear plastic airsoft devices will be considered to be RIFs (as we’ve been informed that many markets are planning on bringing them in in bulk). We showed the Department of Justice some images, as examples of what they look like, and they are going to get back to us about it. They need to seek advice on what’s classed as a RIF, and how the legislation applies in this particular case.
We have also been in contact with senior Gardaí in the Firearms Policy Unit, who are working with the Commissioner and Local Superintendents to put in place guidelines for Superintendent permission, with our suggested guidelines as a base. If you run an Airsoft venue, and have not been in contact with your local superintendent to date, we recommend you do so soon, as we envisage a similar timeline for authorisations to be required for Airsoft sites.
We’d like to thank you for your patience in this process, and will of course keep you informed as to the information we have, when we have it.