Race programme for 2022

Shaun Oneill


Shaun Oneill



The 2022 proposed race programme for Irish Nat FC is as follows.

Skibbereen Old Bird Inland National Tuesday 31st May race marking Monday 30th May.

Sennen Cove Yearling National Wednesday 15th June race marking Monday 13th June.

St. Allouestre Grand National King’s Cup Friday 1st July race marking Tuesday 28th June.

St Malo or Plougastel – Daoulas Friendship National Friday 8th July race marking Tuesday 5th July.

Penzance Grand National Young Bird Wednesday 7th September race marking Monday 5th September.

Skibbereen Young Bird Inland Saturday 17th September race marking Thursday 15th September.

Please note if we are sailing direct to France from Ireland release days will be subject to change.

Members paying through a club 2022 subscriptions.

Existing members paying through your club £20.00 sterling or €25.00 euro’s.

New members paying through a club £25.00 sterling or €31.00 euro’s

Clubs will receive membership forms early February.

Individual members will also receive renewal forms early February.


(North Section Based) Required for the 2022 Season (SIX RACES).

The race advisor and two assistants, one situated in the North Section and one situated in the South section, are required to review weather reports and check with weather forecasters (Met Eireann) before race marking takes place and make changes if necessary to the proposed race marking date if the weather forecast is not favourable to race on the planned release day.

The race advisor or one of his assistants are to inform the secretary and race convoyer of their decision on race marking at least 24 hours before it is due to take place.

The race advisor is also required to contact the race convoyer and update him on weather reports and put in place plans for the release the evening before the planned release day.

On release day the race advisor, with input from the assistants, is required to checking weather reports, make contact on the line of flight with contacts and liaise with the convoyer at the release site to arrange liberation or hold over.

The assistant advisors role is for to help and confer with the race advisor.

Applications to the secretary Trevor Topping in writing to 74 Causeway End Road Lisburn BT28 2ED or by email infcpigeons@btinternet.com on or before the 15th February 2022. The position of race advisor and assistant are appointed by the management committee.

Irish Region AGM to be held in Ballymac Hotel -

Notice of the RPRA (Irish Region) AGM which will take place on Saturday the 5th February 2022 at the Ballymac Hotel, Stoneyford at 1.00pm. All RPRA Region members are entitled to attend and any members intending to serve on the INFC General Committee need to be present or send apology.

It’s been all change at the Irish Region, new Secretay Noel Higginson now getting up to speed in the job coming after a period of long service by the previous Secretary the late Robert Reid from Carrickfergus. The regular visitors to RPRA Council are now Cormac O’Hare from Ballyholland and Sam Briggs from Lisburn & District, good to see many questions being asked. I have been suggesting for many years that the RPRA Council Reports be presented as a regular feature on our meeting agenda. Its also good to see a bigger profile for the annual RPRA Awards and we still lift big titles despite the awards now worked out on a co-efficient basis. Big winners this year include John Connolly from Ballymoney, Mullen Bros of Blackwatertown and Keelie Wright of Lurgan Social who had a montage printed on the front page of the BHW on the Blackpool Show edition which was free to download.

Irish Region (RPRA) Awards 2021 - Talbenny & Penzance (Individual Bird)

SECT A – Jimmy Hanson, Coleraine Premier HPS Vel 1274; SECT B – W & J Smyth, Ballymena & District HPS Vel 1314; SECT C – Gary McKenna, Eastway Vel 1291; SECT D – Joe Ward, Glen Vel 1282; SECT E - G & C Simmons, Edgarstown Vel 1311; SECT F – McCartan & Woosdides, Grossgar Vel 1251; SECT G – Ron Williamson, Newry & District Vel 1332; SECT H – David Booth, Mourne & District Vel 862. Overall winner and the Irish Region Trophy won by Ron Williamson, Newry & District Vel 1332.

Irish Region Mileage Awards 2021

0-250 Miles won by C O’Hare & Daughter, Ballyholland, Blue Cock GB20B-29037; 251-450 Miles won by C O’Hare &B Daughter, Ballyholland, Mealy Hen GB20B-29039; 450 Miles + won by John Connolly, Ballymoney HPS.

Best Y B Performance 2021 – Bingham & Seaton, Ligoniel, Blue Hen GB21C-32018. Best O B Performance 2021 – C O’Hare & Daughter, Ballyholland, Blue Cock GB20B-29037. Young Fancier of the Year won by Croskery Sisters, Comber Central.

Young Fancier Mileage Awards 2021 - Young Fancier over 450 Miles won by Mullen Bros of Blackwatertown West End HPS.

The following were elected at the previous AGM.

The following officials were elected for 2020: Life Vice-Presidents - S Thompson, S G Briggs, J Serplus, R Reid and A C McGrugan. President S G Briggs, Vice Presidents J Serplus, and G Delaney. Chairman C O’Hare. Secretary/Treasurer Noel Higginson, 44 Green View, Parkgate, Ballyclare, Co Antrim BT39 OJP. Tel: (028) 94 439481. Mobile: 07518 748717. Email: noelhigginson@hotmail.com

Councillors to RPRA: S G Briggs NIPA, and C O’Hare Ballyholland with Reserve G Delaney Dromore. Auditor: Ron McKelvey. PO: W Reynolds Ballymena.

Irish Region Committee includes: S Thompson, S G Briggs, R Reid, W Seaton, W Reynolds, J Burrows, C O’Hare, D Suitters, G Delaney, R Service Ballymena, G Robinson Carrick, J Conlane Kingswood, Alan Larkin Wilton Cross, Paul Larkin Portadown & Drumcree and J Serplus Laurelvale.

INFC (RPRA) Management Committee: W Reynolds Ballymena, P Dunlop Edgarstown, C O’Hare Ballyholland, J Serplus Laurelvale, P Smith Individual Dublin, R Duddy Ballyclare, A Thompson Ballyclare, C Lyons Hills & Maze, D Suitters Doagh, E McGimpsey Ards, N Lewis Doagh, A Larkin Wilton Cross, G Simmons Edgarstown. R Service Ballymena replaced G McDowell.

INFC (RPRA) Appeals Committee: J Brown Blackwatertown, J Burrows Eastway, and W Knowles Kingsmoss. Mr & Mrs Reid who had long service in the role of Secretary/Treasurer were thanked for their dedicated service to the Irish Region.

The 2022 meeting agenda is 1. Minutes of last meeting, 2. Matters Arising, 3. Statement of Accounts, 4. Correspondence, 5. Any other business.

Annual General Meeting agenda is 1. Minutes of previous AGM, 2. Election of Officers for 2022, 3. Any other business. Following the AGM a Regional Delegates Meeting will be held.

Fred Simpson from Doagh & District is leaving the sport and all the birds will be for sale in the Ballyclare & District HPS Clubrooms on Saturday 12th November with prices on the pen. Fred was a good steady racer over many years and was a regular visitor to the National Marking Centres when clocks were checked in the big races for NIPA and INFC. The last racing season for Mosside Lofts was 2019 and Fred Simpson had one of the very few lofts in Ireland to time in all three races from France.

Northern Ireland Provincial Amalgamation of Racing Pigeon Societies - Secretary`s Report 2022

Season 2020 and 2021 have been two very difficult year`s for our Sport and our Organisation the NIPA 2020 we had the uncertainty of Covid and in 2021 again Covid was still present with the added difficulties of Brexit and Bird Flu. Thankfully with the assistance of many we made progress and your season commenced one week later than anticipated and continued through the season.

On your behalf I wish to thank the following people for taking the time and interest to assist and pointing us in the right direction. Firstly, our MLA`S at Stormont Mr John O`Dowd and Mr Johnnie Buckley, the TD`S in the Irish Republic we are all indebted to these men. The Staff at Dublin Port for arranging the proper paperwork required ref to Brexit which made our passage to Great Britain and France go without any problems. These people require a BIG THANK YOU from us all.

The Staff at the RPRA especially Ian Evans for all the assistance given to us in Northern Ireland, it must have been a nightmare taking into account the many problems and difficulties being placed on our pigeon friends in GB. The Staff at DAERA and especially Jim Blee and his team for sorting out the problems regarding our General Licence. No organisation in Northern Ireland can race pigeons without this licence being in place.

Now to thank members and staff of our own organisation and I hope I do not leave anyone out. All of the following did outstanding work For the NIPA and our sport.

Mr Jim Ramsay for his outstanding contribution with DAERA attending many of their Zoom meetings and always doing his very best for the NIPA and our Sport. Mr Paul Howard for his sterling work with Dublin Port. He was receiving a lot of conflicting advice he kept at it until he made contact with an official at the Port who knew his job and sorted us out.

The Secretary of the Irish National Flying Club Mr Trevor Topping and Robert who are always very helpful to me and their advice is always appreciated. Mr David Mawhinney our President who liaised with our MLA Mr Johnnie Buckley, Mr Greg O`Dowd NIPA Committee member for Section E Who Liaised with MLA Mr John O`Dowd. David and Greg`s assistance to me and to you all is very much appreciated

Mr Paddy McNeice for his outstanding work in arranging permission to release our pigeons at all release sites especially with COVID 19 being present. Mr Cormac 0`Hare and Mr Sam Briggs for all their assistance with the RPRA. All the above did a magnificent job, for each, and every one of us.

At the start of our season no one envisaged the problems we would encounter with our young birds, and no one has the answer, hopefully there will be better times ahead for our 2022 young birds.

We have to look forward to our 2022 Season with some optimism, we are in a better place now than this time last year, yes there are still problems mainly the Bird Flu, it is still around but it seems to be fading, hopefully it does not raise its head again and the General licence is in place for April 2022

There does not seem to be any further problems with Brexit and COVID 19, looks like we will just have to live with it.

Regarding your proposed race programmes for 2022, you are aware of the 2022 Old Bird Programme and the commencement date. Your young bird programme is still to be finalised, you will receive voting papers for 4 different race programmes please complete and return by 12th February 2022. I will forward you with two sets of forms please use only one and keep the other in case there has to be a second ballot.

You will be shortly receive our accounts for 2021. The first thing I must point out to you that the accounts are made up to 57 weeks to the end of November and not 52 weeks to the end of October. This will sort itself out at the next Audit.

Everyone was expecting a poor set of accounts due to the poor racing we had and the drastic cut in the number of pigeons being convoyed reducing our income. Thankfully this did not happen, and I present to you a set of accounts which I hope you will be happy with. The NIPA Capital Account increased by £26,453.00stg to a total of £687,957.72

For 2022 you will not have income from Furlough you will not have or have a much-reduced BANK Interest due to two years interest being credited this year and income from other sources are not guaranteed.

I have shown you the figures on the accounts for 2019, 2020 and 2021 so as you can make a valid comparison; you cannot compare 2021 against 2020 you must compare 2021 against 2019 you will not be surprised to see that income has fallen in 2021 against 2019, will it continue to fall this year? I believe it may.

I would like to point out to you one set of figures and give you an explanation.

Regarding the Secretary`s and Assistant Secretary`s wages which do show a huge increase however you must take into account that we received 57 weeks’ pay in this audit not 52 as normal and this will sort itself out at the end of the next Audit, myself and Gregory received an increase of around 4/5% just the same as all other employees a total of approx. £200/£250.00 per year plus there is a shortfall of wages paid in 2020 from 2019, this has now been rectified by the accountants.

Your committee will have to agree a way forward for our organisation these set of figures may delay in them making difficult decisions, but it will only be short delay and you as club`s and sections should be putting idea`s forward.

Membership is falling and it will continue to fall. The number of pigeons being sent to races looks likely to decrease and continue to do so. Diesel is up by 45p per litre and may continue to increase. Transport drivers’ wages will have to increase and as you are also aware there is a shortage of Drivers. It simply does not make economic sense to have six transporters on the road collecting from 12,000 to 15,000 pigeons. Changes will have to be made in the future and they will not be popular. These problems will have to be addressed, there is no point burying your head in the sand they simply will not go away.

You all will have a set of accounts in your hand in the next few days and the Secretary’s Report will be online. Please feel free to send me any query you have in writing or by email and I will do my utmost to give you an explanation

Before I finish my report, I would like to thank every sponsor who sponsored the NIPA in its 75 plus one year very much appreciated. Also, to everyone who donated young birds for our presentation to the Ladies at Ladies Night and to any young fancier who attended. We were able to spend £52.00 on each lady and each young fancier had either a free or subsidised ticket plus a presentation of £20.00 each. A big thank you to the non-members of our organisation who donated to this

In concluding my 45th Secretary report there are many people I sincerely wish to thank in assisting me over the years, unfortunately many have passed on and I will always be indebted to them for the service and commitment they so freely gave to our Organisation.

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