Chair of the Irish Country Sports Association Paul Carberry has rubbished suggestions that shooters are growing "bait crops" to lure birds.

"If the National Parks and Wildlife Service have any evidence of such activity, they should furnish it and prosecute," he told the Irish Farmers Journal.

"I don't believe they have. No professional shooter needs to grow crops to attract birds, they are attracted to and attacking farmers' commercial cereal, vegetable and OSR crops".

Carberry also wants any evidence the NPWS is citing for falling bird numbers to be made available for public scrutiny.

"We professional shooters have nothing to hide," he said. "Has the NPWS?"

The derogation allowing the control of pigeons runs out at the end of the month. Carberry says his association wants to meet Minister Malcolm Noonan to put its case forward.

The IFA and the NAARGC also are seeking meetings with Minister Noonan, the NPWS and Darragh O'Brien and senior Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, in whose department responsibility resides.