The National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC) has called on an Taoiseach Micheál Martin to remove Minister of State for heritage and electoral reform Malcolm Noonan from his role in overseeing the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The call was made in an open letter to an Taoiseach and all 160 TDs on Thursday morning 18 March.

“The Minister describes himself as an animal rights activist, which is very different from a person who may love nature and animals,” NARGC chair Dan Curley wrote.

“While the activities of some of these activists in the past included illegal activity, we assume Minister Noonan never went into that space.

“His views are in the extreme zone and would directly conflict with many of the norms and well-established practices which the NPWS would oversee, license and regulate on a daily basis.

“He oversees the NPWS and holds the remit and responsibility for these practices. We believe that a person with this background and belief system is not a fit or proper person to hold this portfolio.”

Personal agenda

In his letter to Government, Curley highlighted the following points as reasoning for issuing the call for the Minister's removal:

  • “The NPWS under his remit in 2020 failed to issue deer hunting licenses in a timely fashion as always pertained even though there was ample time to do so."
  • “He did not step in and clarify the true situation in relation to what game rough shooting constitutes and he misled you and your Government at your meetings, last November."
  • “Minister Noonan and the NPWS failed to deal fairly and equitably on the hare coursing issue late last year, clearly showing a bias towards the sport.”
  • The NARGC said an Taoiseach has a responsibility to ensure that his ministers deal with their remits in a fair and impartial way, leaving their own personal agendas outside the doors of their ministerial offices.

    “Since this minister took up his role, we resolutely believe he has not done this and now he has told you and the public the reason why. He is an animal rights activist,” Curley concluded.