Irish Shooting Politics

July 6, 2009

Hurlers on the ditch

Filed under: Politics — Mark Dennehy @ 1:43 pm

One of the worst aspects of new legislation which further restricts an activity which arguably needed no such restrictions in the first place, is not something suffered from without, but from within. In sports administration, there are various forms known of the 2% rule, which states that 2% of the people do 98% of the work. Depending on the proclivities of the sport’s participants with regard to doing their bit for their fellow sportsmen, that rule varies from being shooting’s 2% rule to being anything as high as a 10% rule.

However, when something goes wrong, where there’s an opportunity for rocks to be thrown, it would appear that the sudden appearance of that quintessential and utterly detestable Irish figure of the Hurler on the Ditch is inevitable.

Already, we’ve seen some examples of this on shooting.boards.ie and no doubt we’ll see more; certainly other websites, even official NGB ones, have given these figures “airtime” in the pas, and no doubt such figures make excellent aides for those whose interests in the sport lean far more to the side of politics and infighting than to the side of actual sport; a situation which ensures that a useful Hurler can often find a “friend” in high places, happily passing on the “inside scoop” on events… even if that scoop is unverifiable (a point that most Hurlers care little for as they have little interest in verified fact, their interests lie elsewhere).

The reason it is one of the worst aspects, however, is not so twee as “being betrayed by one of our own”, because frankly, target shooters in Ireland and elsewhere are not a single cohesive group or even a loosely knit one, but are instead more akin in many ways to seven-year-old siblings sharing a room. Which is why the Firearms Consultation Panel was such a surprising success, despite all of its inherent limitations and obvious politicing. No, the reason that it is one of the worst aspects is that the Hurler almost never sees the play up close, and so almost always points the finger at the wrong player when a foul is called, or indeed, calls a foul where only rulebook play has happened.

It’s not so much the accusations themselves, so much as their obvious erroneousness, and the time it then costs to point out that error; if indeed, the practicalities of confidential agreements allows it to be done.

This is why full disclosure and transparent administration is a good thing – a Hurler who’s forced to see the action up close typically finds it harder to call a play wrong unless it actually is wrong…

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