Sunday 21st August :
Morning commenced at 05.00 hours the first call was made by the race contoller to Mr A Darragh Chairman at 06.23 hrs this was to ensure that Mr Darragh had the drivers up and the birds had water in front of them and that the strings were cut for an early liberation. Further calls to Mr Darragh during the morning were as follows , 07.22 hrs 07.27 hrs 07.35 hrs 08.05 hrs 08.50 hrs 09.03 hrs 09.29 hrs 09.30 hrs 09.38 hrs and 09.53 hrs. these calls are documented on BT usage account . Cork Airport was contacted at 07.37 re a possible release , Dublin airport was contacted at 07.45 re same. Cork Airport confirmed a very low cloud base at 500 feet wind S/West 5 knots and broken cloud at 800 feet . Dublin Airport reported S/West wind 15 knots cloud scattered at 500 feet and the main cloud base was at 1000 feet . Jimmy O`Hara Ulster Federation secretary was in contact at 07.10 , 07.14 , 07.19 ,07.34 , 07.56 and 08.34 no contact from the East Down Combine was made. The U F released at 07.30 hrs and the NIPA were due to release at 08.00 were informed by the U F that the E D C were planning to release at 08.15 hrs however they released at 07.45 hrs. The NIPA were due to have their release at 08.00 hrs however rain arrived before 08.00 and the release had to be postponed. The NIPA convoy are not on the same site as the U F or the E D C .
Poor conditions persisted at the release site until around 13.30 . The route had been cleared for a release at 12.35 however conditions at the release site had not improved, my contacts in the Galty Mts reported conditions were improving and remained good for the rest of the day , Mr T Austin was contacted at 08.58 , 09.20 , 10.47 , 12.21 , 12.37 , 12.59 , 13.26 , 13.47 , 13.58 and after release at 14.46 hrs.
Mr J Connolly was contacted at 10.09 , any of these 2 gentlemen are quite willing to speak with anyone regarding the weather conditions .
The route was checked by webcam at Trim which is south of Navan and this was showing sunshine , Dublin was showing blue skies and sunshine , Skerries showed the coast clear to the Newry Mts and the Mts clear , on the rainfall radar this showed a shower coming from the west however this went on to build to an unforeseen explosion of weather which covered Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth ,Fermanagh, Tyrone ,Armagh, Down and Part of Derry, and slowly moved N / East into County Antrim and out to sea.
At the time of release the cloud base had risen to 1800 feet with broken cloud at 5000 feet , the birds were released at 14.00 hrs I had a video of release on “periscope” videoed by the convoyer Mr P McNeice , the remainder of the day deteriorated into what we all experienced and a terribly disappointing race ensued.
The NIPA Committee are meeting on Tuesday 30th August to investigate this race and I`m certain a more detailed report will be issued .
This has been submitted by Fred Russell Secretary.
Anyone wishing to speak to the secretary in the office please feel free to make an appointment.
From Secretary Portadown & Drumcree –
I have to put a few things down about what went on this weekend, it’s a bit long but I need to get it off my chest!
The race was put back from sat to sun due to bad weather, everyone agreed that a race was possible on Sunday as long as the birds were released early as there was a huge weather front moving from the sw to cover the vast majority of the country. The other orgs released after 7.00am and had a fine race with good returns velocities in the 1700s high 1600s, all good so far NIPA up next??? Or so we thought no update on website for over 3 hrs convoyer had strings cut on crates and could not release due to not being able to contact controller directly. At around midday a change to the site was put on saying that fog was on site and thanks for our patience, at 2pm the birds were liberated to fly into into what was a huge weather font heavy rain low cloud, mist and visibility of about 1/4 mile moving in the direction the convoy was flying, thus ensued one of the worst inland races in my memory, we had over half of the team missing by club time, our first bird lit I thought it was a dark Cheq cock it was a blue cock who was that wet he appeared to be a different colour. We had 26/44 on the day with another 10 back the next day, we were lucky, a lot of lofts further north were wiped out!
This is what I/we know, so far there has been no awknoledgement of the race on the website apart from the result, one section H, has only one section prize out of 45 available. We are none the wiser as to what went on or is going on as the facility most of us who are not in the inner circle that is privy to the goings on at meetings, the website has not been so much as updated.
Livid does not adequately describe how I feel today, I wish I was more able to articulate my feelings in words, who ever took the decision to hold those birds, and then liberate at such a bad time should be ashamed of themselves.
IN THE ABSENCE OF THE TRUTH RUMOUR AND INNUENDO RUN RIFE! This could have been nipped in the bud on Sunday evening with a post on the website acknowledging the race and that steps were being taken to investigate the matter! Instead we have had this, the third day of he said, he did, he should, he didn’t. If we fail to learn from our mistakes we are doomed. The website is the window to our organisation and it is a disgrace, there is not even a section for possible new fanciers to access information about starting up, clubs in their areas etc! It’s the 21st century. The site should be updated with times and author of posts, a covoyers report of every race should be put on, it doesn’t have to be a shakesperian opus just a few concise sentences about the lib and weather, preferably in lay mans terms.
The minutes of committee meetings have to be published and filed in a section that can only be accessed by members so we are all privy to what goes on not just the chosen few and their friends, but all the membership so we have a transparent open organisation, in the ABSENCE of this section reps should have to report back to ALL clubs on what went on in the meetings. Even something so simple as a Facebook page could be created and the information put on there, again it can be a closed group accessible only by the members.
The Young bird Derby is supposed to take place this weekend, it should be postponed and the Fermoy race brought into its place, our young birds are about to face two channel crossings in as many weeks one of 190 miles and one of 300 miles to us, and their prep due to short sited members voting for a inadequate race program that has seen our birds fly 3 Tullamores 96 miles 1 Roscrea 114 miles, 1 Gowran Park 126 miles and a disaster of a Fermoy 170 miles. I believe that young bird racing should be used to educate and develop our young birds, this needs to be done by moving on in distance each week not 3 races which are tantamount to training tosses, and before you start I know some of you fly up to 120+ from Tullamore, which is why the program we proposed at the AGM had the NIPA split top half bottom half, starting at different race points Navan, mullingar and moving on each week until uniting at Fermoy and then Pilmore beach before Talbenny and Penzance with back to inland for yb Nat and derby.
It is OUR organisation if we don’t take more interest in the running of it we are dead in the water! Thanks for reading.
If I am wrong in any of what I said I apologise to whomever I have offended. But as I said be fore in the ABSENCE of the truth! Alan Larkin.
From Secretary Amelia Earhart
Alan, fantastic post!! I agree with nearly everything you have said and support your claim that this is OUR organisation. We the members deserve more openess and transparency into the goings on in the secretive, if your face fits NIPA. The time has finally come for major changes in this organisation and it is us, the members that need to persue, demand and instruct this change, starting from the top!! No more aluminati style management. In terms of my not agreeing with you.. when I saw the proposed race schedule come through the post, I was horrified at the suggestion of a “top half bottom half liberation”. I can understand the logic of it, but in reality, it would further wipe us out here in sec H. Our lorry goes to collect the newry birds and it is having a detrimental effect on the losses of your young birds.. many would not agree with me, but my firm belief is that many of us from limavady to omagh train on the line of flight. We cannot train around the mountain, garvagh into toome anymore if we want to win races. Our birds need to come from ballygawlley for us to even win the club never mind a section. Due to the total amount of birds being libbed, and the sheer numbers on our lorry from newry, I believe our ybs are being dragged east of the country, with the short few making the split for home. Men are losing 10+ birds at the start of the week with very little ever making it back or reported. Imagine what a top and bottom split would do to us when the 95% of pigeons are flying the other side of the hill to us. I believe area libs for young birds should remain until the 200 mile mark to education them before bringing in a mass lib. A bit like Ken Wilkinsons aproach. Regardless, first and foremost before a race program for next year is the sorting out of the shambles that is the NIPA!! Michael Rabbett.
From Secretary New Antrim Amal
Due to the weekends events and stories and rumours circulating within the fancy , I have been forced to publish the following statement with regards to the events:
I , Ken Wilkinson – NIPA Committee Rep for Sect B – applied to the chairman for an emergency meeting to be held to discuss the weekends race ASAP. Having been aware that a number of clubs had sent emails etc to the office expressing their concerns also , I thought that this meeting would be straight forward. I was then informed that the decision to hold this emergency meeting , was in the hands of the NIPA President – Mr Robert Reid . I then proceeded to contact Mr Robert Reid to be told , or should I say refused , that the meeting will not be taking place at the present moment of time. You the fancy in general are good at pointing out to the committee that things need to be sorted. I took it upon myself , along with a number of committee men and clubs to get a meeting called – to be told No – The best that I can offer all those fanciers who contacted myself and other committee men is a meeting next Tuesday evening – 30th August – If you have any issues you want addressed please contact me directly – not by PM – BY TEL : 07701 000652. Yours In Sport Ken Wilkinson.
Alan Larkin Portadown & Drumcree –
It is beyond me why they refuse to take direction from members, all they had to do was bring the Fermoy 5 bird/Fermoy race forward and race Talbenny in its slot and they wouldn’t have to have an extra income generating race! Is it a proper race with points allocation? Does it count as a club race? Not to mention the clash with the INFC Skibbereen and the Rosscarbery race! This is a disgrace, how can they not see that a fancier faced with that will send to Skib. I would suggest boycotting the Rosscarbery race but I know it won’t happen. I don’t know what it will take to change the status quo, but something needs to! The controller by his statement seems to not accept any responsibility whatsoever, blaming an “unexpected explosion of weather” on the disastrous debacle that followed. This is the same weather that was so unexpected that we had to basket an hour early to ensure the transporters were on site for an early release due to the weather front that was forecast three days before! Who makes the decisions? Why doesn’t the controller talk directly to the convoyer, instead goes through the chairman to communicate with him? One would think that this would have to be the most important and professional of relationships with the duty of care to the members and their birds.
I have no issues personally with any of the people involved, this is not a witch hunt with any hidden agenda, I only want our organisation to be as professional as it can because, pigeon racing is my release, as it is for so many, strange breed of people altogether!
I don’t know what I can do to change it, when I go to AGMs I am surrounded by a lot of people who are sick and tired of the same old same old, and also a lot of people who are there because they have to be and cannot wait to exit the uncomfortable, cold and inaudible venue. Hoards leaving before the chair and sec had finished speaking.
How about having it in a hotel? With comfortable seats and heating and even a sound system so we can hear what we are being told, so what if it costs a few pound to put on tea/coffee for club delegates who give up their Saturday to attend, we have to start somewhere, lets drag the NIPA into the 21st century, with a Facebook page an upto date website, these are just some of the essentials for modernisation. We need to do something or accept, it is what it is! And stop complaining,meet together with your club mates, what would you like to see, put in a proposal, publish it on here, or on one of the Facebook pages that service Northern Ireland racing, give it to Homer or New Kid who will put it in the press.
Get fanciers talking about how the want the future to look. I see it just like voting for government or council/assembly if you don’t cast a vote and be a part of it you don’t get to complain.
Drumcree and Portadown RPC