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Should Ireland have a firearms licensing body?

Frances Fitzgerald says that she is expecting a report on the issue soon.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

JUSTICE MINISTER FRANCES Fitzgerald has said that she is considering establishing a body to handle firearms licensing.

Responding to parliamentary questions from Frank Deering and Brendan Smith, Fitzgerald said that she is expecting to receive a report on the issue in the coming weeks.

The Justice Minister added that there are currently difficulties in applying the current law.

“In light of public safety concerns highlighted by An Garda Síochána and difficulties in the interpretation of the legislation expressed by members of the judiciary, my Department is currently examining key policy, legislative, administrative and other issues relating to firearms licensing in conjunction with An Garda Síochána.”

Fitzgerald says she expects to “receive and consider” a report in relation to the matter in the near future.

“When I have considered that report I will consider what further action is necessary in relation to the firearms licensing system.

She said that officials from her department met key interest groups in late 2013 and early 2014 who set out their concerns in relation to a range of issues regarding firearms licensing.

“These interest groups have also communicated their views directly to me, as well as to all Oireachtas members. Further consultation with relevant stakeholders will take place when I have considered the report and before any decisions are finalised in relation to proposals for change to the firearms licensing system.

I will decide on the nature of the consultation and what meetings are appropriate at the time I am considering the report.”

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