Legislation agreed by the Northern Ireland Assembly to allow young people to shoot shotguns and airguns under supervision have been described as positive by shooting groups.

The change was one of a number introduced in the form of amendments to the Justice Bill, tabled by DUP MLA and gameshooting enthusiast Lord Morrow. The amendments were supported by the majority of the Assembly last week.

Ronan Gorman, Director of the Country Sports Lobbying Initiative, said: ?Lord Morrow has been a good friend to country sports throughout his tenure and we are particularly pleased that he has helped us achieve these important concessions. It could have taken several more years before the opportunity rose again.?

Tommy Mayne, BASC director for Northern Ireland, said: ?This change to the Province?s firearms legislation will bring Northern Ireland more into line with the rest of the UK and will benefit our young people as it will allow supervised access, which will promote respect for firearms from an early age.?

Northern Ireland?s 61,000 shooters have long campaigned for measures to allow young people access to supervised shooting opportunities. It is hoped that the new arrangements will also improve achievement in shooting sports disciplines at major competitions.