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Displaying items by tag: Courts

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) investigated a serious fish kill incident that occurred on 3 September 2021 at the Glore River in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

IFI’s investigation led to the instigation of legal proceedings against Uisce Éireann and court procedures concluded on Thursday 4 January.

Uisce Éireann, formerly Irish Water, has accepted liability for the fish kill, resulting from a chemical spill at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Plant.

A senior fisheries environmental Officer has inspected the treatment plant on several occasions since the fish kill.

Following an onsite meeting on 8 October 2022, a number of recommendations were made to Uisce Éireann to reduce the risk of future spills at the Kiltimagh Water Treatment Plant.

Uisce Éireann were fully supportive and these measures have now been implemented.

IFI, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats, says it will continue to inspect the plant to ensure that all recommendations have been followed.

Further to these preventative measures, Uisce Éireann has paid costs and a financial contribution of €15,000 to go towards research for habitat enhancement.

This will be used to identify the potential for a habitat restoration project in the upper Glore River and some of its tributaries.

This project will include a detailed survey of the Glore and possibly some adjacent sub-catchments, which will provide an analysis of current river and riparian habitat quality.

Where deficiencies are identified, appropriate amelioration works will be proposed to aid in the recovery of salmon stocks in the Glore River area.

Published in Angling

Campaigners against plans to excavate caverns for gas storage under Larne Lough took to its shores last weekend to reaffirm their opposition to the proposals.

And as Belfast Live reports, the protest at Browns Bay Beach on Sunday 7 January also heralded their upcoming hearing at the Court of Appeal, following on from last August’s dismissal of their application for judicial review.

Islandmagee Energy, a subsidiary of Infrastrata-owned Harland and Wolff, won a marine licence to excavate seven 1,350m-deep caverns under the lough when Edwin Poots, then minister at the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), green-lit the project in November 2021.

The works would result in up to 24,000 cubic metres of brine being discharged into the inlet every day — a prospect that environmentalists and other campaigners say will have a significant impact on marine wildlife and habitats that they argue has not been properly assessed.

Belfast Live has much more on the story HERE.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured convictions against two men for illegal salmon angling on the River Slaney in Co Carlow.

The men were each charged with using an illegal method for salmon fishing and failing to produce a licence over the incident in the townland of Kildavin on 15 May 2023.

Dylan Byrne from Hacketstown, Co Carlow, was instructed to pay €700 in fines, and €500 in legal costs. He was also charged with obstruction or impediment of a fisheries officer.

Conor Kavanagh from Carnew, Co Wicklow was fined €350, and directed to pay €500 in legal costs.

The case was heard at Carlow District Court on 7 December 2023.

Commenting after the court verdict, Lynda Connor, South Eastern River Basin District director at IFI said: “The protection of the River Slaney is extremely important to sustain a viable population of wild salmon.

“Illegal angling puts further pressure on this exceptionally vulnerable fish. I commend our fisheries protection officers for their unwavering commitment in protecting this wonderful species.”

IFI encourages members of the public to report illegal fishing incidents, and those of water pollution, fish kills and habitat destruction, to its 24/7 phone number at 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured convictions against two men for an illegal netting incident in which three Atlantic salmon died.

The case was heard at Ennis District Court on Friday 27 October.

Tom Corry and Flan Considine, both from Clarecastle in Co Clare, were observed by IFI fisheries officers setting four illegal salmon nets across the River Fergus in Ennis on the night of 9 June this year.

IFI officers managed to release three salmon alive to the water, but three salmon were dead.

The court heard how, when apprehended, Corry and Considine were in possession of an illegally caught salmon. When IFI officers subsequently retrieved the nets that were set in the river, another five salmon were caught there.

Corry was fined €200 and Considine was fined €100. Both were ordered to pay costs of €615 each in relation to the offence.

During the investigation, IFI officers also seized a boat which was forfeited as a result of the conviction.

Commenting after the court verdict, David McInerney, Shannon River Basin District director at IFI said: “The River Fergus is closed to salmon fishing. Numbers in the river are significantly below levels required to sustain a healthy natural population.

“Illegal fishing is a serious environmental crime which has the capacity to threaten vulnerable salmon stocks.

“Any illegal fishing puts further pressure on a very important and iconic wild Irish fish. In 1971, a total of 1.2 million wild salmon returned to Ireland. Last year, that number was just 171,697 — representing a fall of 86 per cent.”

IFI encourages the public to report illegal fishing or angling incidents or those relating to water pollution, habitat destruction or fish kills to its 24/7 confidential phone number at 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has welcomed the outcome of a case it brought against Uisce Éireann involving sewage pollution of the Cavan town river.

A fine of €2,000, plus costs and expenses of €3,197, were imposed at a hearing on the matter at Cavan District Court on Friday 1 December.

It comes after IFI had previously secured prosecution in October against the State water utility for pollution of the Ballinagh River in Co Cavan which killed 160 fish.

The court heard that in the wake of ongoing issues at the Uisce Éireann wastewater treatment plant at Ballinagh, senior IFI fisheries environmental officer Ailish Keane had taken samples for analysis following the pollution event in Cavan town on 3 February this year.

These test samples, taken downstream from the plant, showed high levels of pollutants, with large amounts of sewage fungus — bacteria, fungus and algae that reduce oxygen levels — visible on the bed of the river.

Commenting on the verdict, Dr Milton Matthews, director of IFI’s North-Western River Basin District said: “We welcome the outcome in this case. The presence of sewage fungus in the river is indicative of chronic organic pollution of the Cavan town river at this location, rather than an isolated incident — with significant impact on fish, invertebrates and all aquatic life in the river.

“There were significant breaches of the licence emission limits for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) — oxygen required to break down organic matter in the water — and high ammonia levels.

“Sample results taken at the location indicated that ammonia levels were over 115 times higher than permitted discharge limits, and eight times higher than permissible for BOD limits as stipulated for this treatment plant.”

The conviction was secured under Section 171 of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 — legislation regarding protection of fishing waters from harmful pollutants.

Members of the public are encouraged to report instances of water pollution, illegal fishing, habitat destruction or fish kills to IFI’s confidential number at 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

Local campaigners are taking their challenge against proposed gas caverns under Larne Lough to the Court of Appeal, following its dismissal by the High Court in August.

As previously noted on Afloat.ie, all seven grounds of the legal challenge brought jointly by campaign groups No Gas Caverns and Friends of the Earth NI were dismissed at the High Court in Belfast.

But as Belfast Live reports, the groups are mounting an appeal of Justice Michael Humphreys’s ruling under two grounds: failure to refer the marine licence applications to the Executive Committee; and the taking into account of an irrelevant consideration, namely the fossil fuel scheme’s promise of a ‘community fund’.

The groups argue that former Environment Minister Edwin Poots acted unlawfully when he approved a marine license for plans to store half a billion cubic metres of natural gas under the lough.

It’s feared that “hyper-saline” water that would be released by carving out the salt caverns beneath the lock would threaten vulnerable marine wildlife and even create a “dead zone”.

Belfast Live has more on the story HERE.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has welcomed the successful prosecuted of a man for using a barbed fishing hook in Cork.

Stephen Hackett of Leitrim Street, Cork was found guilty of using the hook, refusing to provide personal details when asked, and impeding an IFI officer.

At the hearing on Wednesday 20 September, Cork District Court was told Hackett was observed fishing with a barbed hook — prohibited under a River Lee Bye-law — at Jenning’s Pool, on the north bank of the River Lee’s south channel, on 6 August 2022.

IFI fisheries officer Stephen Kiely said Hackett refused to provide his name and address when requested to do so, and generally impeded the investigation.

Fines of €250 were imposed for each of the three offences: using a barbed hook, refusing to give a name and impeding an authorised officer.

Hackett was also ordered to pay costs of €350 to IFI. He was found guilty of two breaches of Section 301 (7) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, and one breach of the 2006 (River Lee) Bye-law No. 811.

Hackett did not appear in court.

He had also been prosecuted by IFI in July this year at Fermoy District Court, where he was fined €500, plus €350 in costs to IFI, for similar offences.

Commenting on Tuesday 3 October, Sean Long, director of the South-Western River Basin District at IFI said: “I welcome the determination in this case. Angling methods on the River Lee are tightly controlled.

“The use of triple-barbed hooks is completely banned on this section of the River Lee. There were a limited number of salmon and sea trout available to kill in 2022 - and therefore there are restrictions on the type of fishing hook that can be used.

“Single barbless hooks cause less injuries to the fish. They are easier to remove, and also reduce handling time, which can be an important factor influencing survival.

“Anglers or members of the general public can report illegal fishing incidents, or those relating to water pollution, or fish kills, to our 24/7 confidential phone number, 0818 34 74 24.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured convictions against three men for illegal fishing offences on the River Shannon.

Two men were convicted of illegal salmon netting on the River Shannon, and another man has been convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon.

Damien Mallard and Calvin Hughes of St Mary’s Park, Limerick were observed by IFI officers setting a 100-metre salmon net from a boat, spanning almost the entire width of the River Shannon in Limerick city.

Separately, Ger Molloy of St Mary’s Park, Limerick was convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon.

In the early hours of 22 July 2022, IFI officers apprehended Mallard and Hughes and seized a net which the men had retrieved and brought onboard a boat.

With the assistance of An Garda Síochána, the boat was also seized.

The case was heard at Limerick District Court on Friday 8 September this year.

The court heard how Mallard was convicted of previous illegal fishing offences, and a four-month suspended sentence was imposed for two years in October 2020. As the date of the July 2022 offence was within the two-year period of the suspended sentence, the sentence was invoked.

Taking on board the early plea, but also the seriousness of the offences, a one-month custodial sentence was imposed by the court.

Legal counsel for Mallard indicated he would appeal the sentence with general bail conditions attaching to this appeal. This has the effect of staying the operation of the District Court order until such time as the appeal is concluded in the Circuit Court.

Costs of €560 to IFI were granted.

The co-accused — Hughes, who pleaded guilty to the same illegal salmon netting offence — received a fine of €250 and costs of €250 were awarded to IFI.

Separately, in a case heard on Friday 8 September at Limerick District Court, Ger Molloy was convicted of possessing an unlawfully captured salmon.

The court heard how on 1 July 2022, Molloy was observed angling for and catching a salmon by rod and line in the tailrace portion of the River Shannon.

A fine of €250 was imposed, and IFI was awarded costs of €250.

Commenting on the cases, David McInerney of the Shannon River Basin District at IFI said: “The lower River Shannon is open to salmon fishing on a catch-and-release basis only. Salmon numbers in the River Shannon catchment are significantly below levels required to sustain a healthy natural population.

“Any illegal fishing puts further pressure on a very important and iconic wild Irish fish. In 1971, a total of 1.2 million wild salmon returned to Ireland. Last year, that number was just 171,697 — representing a fall of 86 per cent.”

IFI encourage the public to report incidents of illegal fishing, water pollution or fish kills to its 24/7 confidential phone line at 0818 34 74 24.

Published in Angling

The High Court in Belfast has dismissed a legal challenge against proposed gas caverns under Larne Lough.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, judgment was reserved in early May in the "complex" and "significant" judicial review into granting a marine licence for the plans to store half a billion cubic metres of natural gas under the lough.

Northern Ireland’s main conservation groups have been united against the proposals on environmental grounds, with a number of demonstrations taking place earlier this year.

According to BBC News, Justice Michael Humphreys dismissed all seven grounds of the legal challenge brought jointly by campaign groups No Gas Caverns and Friends of the Earth NI.

The latter said the ruling on Thursday (31 August) is “incredibly disappointing for our environment”.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured combined fines of €8,500 against two separate landowners for destroying stretches of their local rivers in Laois and Tipperary.

In Co Laois, Michael Hosey was convicted of carrying out works on 800 metres of river channel at Trumera, Mountrath, thereby impacting the habitats of trout, lamprey and eels along the river.

In Co Tipperary, Milo Cuddihy was convicted of carrying out instream works on 300 metres of the Lingaun River at Breanormore, affecting the habitats of salmon, trout, lamprey and eel populations.

Cuddihy was fined a total of €4,000, and directed to pay a further €750 in costs to IFI.

IFI became aware of the issue on 28 January this year and the case was heard at Carrick-on-Suir District Court on 5 July.

Separately, Hosey was also found guilty of two breaches of fisheries legislation for the destruction of a local river.

Portlaoise District Court heard Hosey’s motivation for carrying out the work was to drain land to alleviate flooding.

At a sitting on 16 June, the court was told that 800 metres of river channel on Hosey’s property and on an adjoining property had been dug out, deepened, re-profiled and the river bank vegetation removed.

Realignment of the Lingaun River with river-bed material on the bankside | Credit: IFIRealignment of the Lingaun River with river-bed material on the bankside | Credit: IFI

He carried out these extensive instream works in the closed season at his farm in Trumera, Mountrath, Co Laois in December 2022.

Hosey received total fines of €3,000, and was also ordered to contribute €750 towards the costs of the prosecution.

Commenting on both cases, Lynda Connor, South-Eastern River Basin District director at IFI said: “These were acts of ecological destruction. The actions of the defendants demonstrated a real disregard for the rivers, their fish species and habitats.

“IFI will continue to prosecute such illegal activity in fulfilment of its remit to protect and conserve Ireland’s important inland fisheries resource.

“The decimation and removal of a river’s habitat can be devastating in terms of its effects on fish. It can also impact instream biodiversity such as vegetation and insects.”

Connor added: “Landowners need to seek all necessary and relevant information from their advisors, and from Inland Fisheries Ireland, before carrying out any works near, or on, a watercourse adjacent to their land.

“The appropriate window for any instream works is between July and September, but only with the guidance and permission of IFI. During the closed season, from October to June, no works should take place in a river.

“IFI continues to encourage members of the public to report incidents such as this, and those of water pollution, fish kills, and illegal fishing to its 24/7 phone number, 0818 34 74 24.”

Landowners can refer to further guidance on minding Ireland’s watercourses from Teagasc.

Published in Environment
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