IFA Countryside 

Protecting and Defending Rural Ireland

IFA Countryside 

Protecting and Defending Rural Ireland

Welcome to IFA Countryside; a division of the Irish Farmers’ Association.

IFA Countryside was established to defend the interests of people who actively enjoy the countryside through the protection of the environment and to influence positive change in policies that impact rural Ireland.

IFA Countryside is committed to tackling the many challenges facing rural Ireland. It is now more important than ever than rural communities come together. We promise to provide a strong voice on rural affairs and campaigns.

Enjoy your field sports safely and securely with an IFA Countryside Membership.

IFA Countryside is delighted to welcome members of Countryside Alliance Ireland. For more information on our membership offerings and how to renew your membership with IFA Countryside call 1890 924 982.


Click or tap on the button below to check your 5km radius from home to comply with the restrictions on movement put in place by the  Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Level 5 (002)


As of midnight Wednesday 21 October, all of Ireland will be placed on Level 5 of the plan; Living with COVID.  Level 5 restrictions will remain in place for a period of 6 weeks.

IFA Countryside has written to the Government seeking clarification on restrictions as they relate to game hunting and we await a response.

In the meantime, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with Level 5 restrictions https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/2dc71-level-5/.  Breaches of COVID-19 regulations will be penalised.

It is our understanding that placing the country at level 5 restrictions will have the following implications for country sport activities:

  • People are permitted to exercise within a radius of 5km of their home. There will be a penalty from movement outside of 5km of your home. There are certain defined exceptions including for farming purposes ie food production and/or care of animals.  See full list here


  • It is possible to meet with one other household in an outdoor setting which is not a home or garden, such as a park, for exercise.
  • When taking exercise outside, it is important to maintain two metres distance from others and washing hands on returning home.
  • There should be NO organised indoor or outdoor events ie no club or syndicate gatherings

On the above framework, one concludes that an individual may engage in country sport activities, along with another person in a 5 km radius of their home.  Individuals must behave responsibly adhering to social distancing, mask wearing and sanitising.

Update on Issue of Deer Hunting Licence Applications

The Department has received a large volume of telephone calls in the last few days from applicants enquiring about their deer hunting applications. The NPWS are currently processing deer hunting applications and licences will issue to applicants in the coming weeks. There may be some delays in the issuing of licences given current working arrangements due to Covid-19 but the NPWS will endeavour to issue as many licences as possible prior to 1 September, the start of the deer hunting season. You can also email the Wildlife Licensing Unit at wildlifelicence@chg.gov.ie relating to your application.

For further info, please click here

Wood Pigeon Update

IFA Countryside Chairman Brian Rushe has welcomed the decision by the Heritage Minister Josepha Madigan to revoke the initial Wild Birds State Wide Declaration for the period 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021.

Following a recent meeting with the NPWS on the issue, IFA submitted  a detailed document https://www.ifa.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Wood-Pidgeon-Derogation.pdf, which highlighted the need to reverse the decision relating to woodpigeon control.

Changes to the Deer Hunting Application Process due to COVID-19 Government Guidelines

Application packs will not be sent by post to those hunters who held a licence for the 2019/2020 deer hunting season at this stage due to the impact of Covid-19 on the operation of the Wildlife Licensing Unit.

However, the Department will keep the matter under review. In addition, due to the current travel restrictions applicants are not required to submit a signed landowner permission form at this time but must provide all landowner permission details on the application form.

Applicants can still provide Coillte permits with their applications. You are advised to make an application for the new season as soon as possible, but well before the end of June 2020.

Wild deer open season dates for 2020/2021 are available here.

Full details available here.

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