digging out differences  | 

High Court judge urges factions in hunting body to mediate in dispute

The judge said mediation between the groups would avoid prolonged and expensive litigation
The Four Courts in Dublin

The Four Courts in Dublin

Aodhan O'Faolain

A High Court judge has urged both sides involved in a dispute over the running of the country's largest voluntary game hunting body to consider mediating their differences.

The dispute involves members of the National Association of Regional Game Councils (NARGC), which is composed of over 20,000 members in some 1,000 shooting clubs throughout Ireland.

The two parties are at loggerheads over the operation and governance of the NARGC, and that there has been a breakdown in relations between members of the Association's Executives, the court heard.

At Friday's vacation sitting of the court Mr Justice Max Barrett, who suggested that the sides mediate their differences outside of the courts, granted seven members of the NARGC's executive a temporary injunction.

The injunction restrains both the Annual General Meeting and an Emergency General Meeting, which was due to take place before the AGM to deal with certain issues of the NARGC, that had been scheduled to take place this weekend from taking place.

The action has been taken by Michael Fenlon, John Toal, Seamus Heraty, Jim Brennan, Paddy Flynn, Raymond McCarthy and Tom O'Shea, who are all members of the association's Executive Committee.

The defendants in the action are Daniel Curley, the chairman of the NARGC, and Seamus O'Brien, Paul Doran, John Flannery John Butler and Shane O'Connor, who are also members of the NARGC's Executive Committee.

In their proceedings the plaintiffs group all claim that they were purported suspended from their roles on the NARGC's executive following a meeting held in late August.

They claim that their purported suspension is not valid and the meeting at which the decision was taken to suspend them was not properly convened in accordance with the association's rules.

The plaintiffs also claim that their purported suspension has resulted in damage to their reputations.

They claim that arising out of the decision to suspend them their contact details and images were removed from the NARGC's website.

As a result of their purported suspension the plaintiff's claim that their reputations have been damaged.

They claim that the situation would only be aggravated further if a proposed EGM and the AGM of the association, due to take place on Saturday September 18, was to go ahead.

A lawyer for the defendants, who deny any wrongdoing, told the court that the organisation could be left in a state of paralysis for a lengthy period if injunctions were put in place.

Such orders could prevent the association from holdings its AGM for any significant period. The court also heard that one of the items on the EGM's agenda was a motion to lift the plaintiff's suspensions.

After considering submissions on behalf of the different groups Mr Justice Barrett said he was satisfied to grant a temporary injunction restraining the proposed EGM and AGM from taking place.

The judge also granted an interim injunction restraining the defendants from acting on or implementing on any purported resolution made at the meeting held on August 28th last.

The orders are to remain in place until the matter returns before the High Court later this month. The judge welcomed the fact that through their lawyers both sides had indicated a willingness to mediate their differences.

The judge urged the parties to consider mediating the dispute, given how expensive prolonged litigation can be.

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