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Displaying items by tag: Courts

A farmer from Beaufort in Co Kerry was convicted and fined €3,300 plus costs following a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

In a hearing at Caherciveen District Court on Thursday 10 December, Judge David Waters convicted Raymond Breen under Section 173 (d) of the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 for carrying out works in the Gaddagh River which damaged sensitive spawning beds.

While a charge of obstruction was struck out, Judge Waters commented that he could not ignore the defendant’s behaviour when considering the appropriate penalty.

The Gaddagh River, a tributary of the River Laune and in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), is an important spawning habitat for Atlantic salmon, a species protected under Irish and European law.

The court heard evidence that an inspection carried out by IFI fisheries officers discovered substantial amounts of spawning gravel removed from the river and stock-piled along a 250m section of bank.

Heavy machinery tracks were recorded across the riverbed, the protected spawning gravels and on both banks.

Evidence was given that the engine of a tracked earth-mover at the site was hot when discovered but the driver could not be located. The scene was described in court as a “working site”.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District at IFI, said: “This is a serious environmental crime. The removal of gravel from spawning beds will directly impact our already endangered Atlantic salmon stocks by drastically reducing usable spawning gravel.

“We urge all landowners to take responsible action and to contact their advisors or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out any works that may damage watercourses on or adjacent to their land.”

Published in Angling

A foreshore licence granted for expansion of an offshore wind farm near Arklow now faces a High Court challenge from an environmentalist and planning activist, as The Irish Times reports.

Peter Sweetman — whose previous objections include the proposals for a sea wall at US President Donald Trump’s Doonbeg golf resort — claims the purpose of the licence for site investigation works is to expand the current Arklow Bank Wind Park site from seven up to as many as 200 offshore wind turbines.

He also calls for ministerial decisions which resulted in the licence being granted to be quashed, arguing that they go against the EU Habitats Directive.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Power From the Sea

A Co Galway dairy has been fined €1,000 following a successful prosecution for river pollution by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

At a sitting of Ballinasloe District Court on Thursday 1 October, it was heard that on 24 October 2019, IFI staff noticed a discharge of polluting matter entering the Deerpark River from Arrabawn Dairies, Kilconnell, Co Galway.

Results from samples showed higher-than-recommended levels for a number of parameters, including biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), ammonia and suspended solids.

Judge Gearty convicted Arrabawn Dairies under Section 171 of the Fisheries Acts and Section 4 of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts.

Fisheries Assistant Inspector Arnold Donnelly gave evidence emphasising the polluting nature of the discharge and that it was particularly unfortunate that the discharge occurred at a time of year when fish spawn in the river.

Judge Gearty fined the company €1,000 and awarded costs of €2,659 to IFI.

David Mc Inerney, director of the Shannon River Basin District at IFI, said: “Pollution events such as this have a very negative impact on water quality which is essential for the health of fish.

“The Deerpark River system is a tributary of the River Suck and holds excellent stocks of wild brown trout, crayfish and brook lamprey. Protection of water quality and habitats is critical to our rivers and fisheries ecosystems.”

Published in Angling

A Co Cork dairy farmer has been fined €8,000 at Midleton District Court following a prosecution taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

On Thursday 12 November, Brian Duncan pleaded guilty before Judge Patricia Harney to polluting the Douglas River at Garryduff, Dungourney, Co Cork in April 2018.

The court heard that an initial discharge of slurry from his farmyard was followed by further reoccurrences, resulting in a number of court adjournments and hearings to allow completion of court-directed remedial works.

IFI gave evidence that the river had been severely polluted by the slurry discharges, which had rendered the riverine habitat inaccessible to spawning trout and salmon.

Evidence was also given that Duncan was running a large farm with a dairy herd in excess of 1,000 and that he had invested significantly in improving his yard facilities since the initial incident.

Judge Harney convicted Duncan under Section 171 (1) of the Fisheries Consolidation Act 1959 and Section 3 (1) of The Local Government Water Pollution Act 1977, awarding full costs and expenses of €8,139 to IFI.

While noting the remedial works, Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “Livestock manure and other organic fertilisers, effluents and soiled water have the potential to cause devastating effects on our fisheries resource.

“Good farmyard management and using preventative measures helps stop accidental discharges of polluting substances and protects the local environment, which will have a significant and lasting positive impact on valuable wild fish populations and general wellbeing in an area.

“I urge the farming community to remain vigilant to the risk of pollution from yards and slurry tanks. Inland Fisheries Ireland has a confidential hotline number to enable members of the general public to report incidents of water pollution, fish kills and illegal fishing – 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.’”

To prevent waters from being polluted by nitrogen and phosphorus when land-spreading, IFI advises farmers to refer to Good Agricultural Practice Regulations guidance on www.agriculture.gov.ie

Published in Angling

A West Cork fisherman has been fined €4,000 plus costs after being found guilty on two counts of illegal fishing and the obstruction of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) officers.

Evidence in relation to the offences by Donal Healy — with an address in Castletownbere, Co Cork — was given before Judge James McNulty sitting at Bantry District Court on Wednesday 28 October.

The breaches of fisheries legislation occurred on 5 July 2019 off Quarry Point in Co Cork.

IFI officers outlined the facts of the case to the court and how Healy had been observed drift-net fishing with a monofilament net off Quarry Point.

Healy attempted to prevent fisheries officers from boarding his vessel on its return to Blackball Harbour by casting off and pulling away from the pier. But IFI officers managed to board the vessel at sea and seized the illegal 300-metre-long salmon drift net.

Judge McNulty imposed fines of €2,000 for illegal fishing and €2,000 for obstructing the fisheries officers, and Healy was ordered to pay a further €500 in costs to IFI.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “I would like to commend the fisheries protection officers’ vigilance, perseverance and continuous commitment to protecting migrating salmon on their journey back to their spawning grounds. Mr Healy’s selfish actions put into jeopardy the very survival of a protected species in Irish rivers.

“This conviction highlights the ongoing issue of illegal netting for salmon and our zero tolerance of this serious environmental crime.

“I urge members of the public to continue to report instances of illegal fishing, water pollution and invasive species by calling Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential hotline number on 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.”

Published in Fishing

Two men who were jailed earlier this year for drunkenly sailing their boat up the River Liffey from Dublin Port will have a hearing of their appeal to overturn the verdict and sentences next April, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Boat owner Brian Stacey (46) and Ronan Stephens (43), both from Crumlin, were each sentenced to three months in prison with the final month suspended over the incident on 1 June 2017.

Afloat.ie previously reported on the early morning chase up the River Liffey from the port to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

The court heard that the skipper’s erratic driving of the 26ft quarter tonner Peja delayed the entry of the 4,000-tonne cruise liner Corinthian into the port.

It was also heard that Stephens was arrested after he made landfall at the city quays and stripped off his clothes, and told gardaí he had a “God-given right to operate on the water”.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Port

Two men have pleaded guilty on charges relating to illegal net fishing at Broadmeadow Estuary in Malahide, Co Dublin.

On Tuesday 28 July, Maxim Loan and Gheorgie Pingica appeared before Judge Bernadette Owens at Swords District Court in respect of breaches of fisheries legislation at Broadmeadow Estuary on 5 August last year.

Fisheries officers from the Dublin District of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) said that on the night in question, surveillance was carried out on a net that had been staked in the estuary.

Later that night, IFI officers observed two individuals retrieving and servicing a net and placing it in a vehicle.

Officers carried out a search and seized a net 68 meters long which contained mullet and flounder, and the men were apprehended.

Judge Owens convicted Loan and Pingica under Section 102 of Fisheries Amendment Act and imposed fines totalling €1,000, and awarded costs to IFI of €1,814.

Brian Beckett, director of IFI’s Eastern River Basin District, said: “Our officers enforce fisheries laws in both covert and non-covert operations dedicating significant surveillance man-hours in the protection of our valuable fish populations.

“Illegal nets are very damaging to vulnerable estuary fish stocks including salmon, sea trout, bass and mullet along the East Coast. This conviction highlights the persistent issue of illegal net fishing which is a serious environmental crime and will not be tolerated.”

Published in Angling

The captain of a small sailing boat has been found guilty of operating a vessel while intoxicated, among a number of charges over an incident during the Dublin Port Riverfest in 2017.

Boat owner Brian Stacey (46) and Ronan Stephens (42), both from Crumlin, went on trial last summer over the incident on 1 June 2017 that prompted an early morning chase up the River Liffey from Dublin Port to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

The court heard that the skipper’s erratic driving of the 26ft quarter tonner Peja delayed the entry of the 4,000-tonne cruise liner Corinthian into the port.

Stephens was arrested after he made landfall at the city quays and stripped off his clothes, it was heard.

And the court also heard Stacey say it was his “God-given right to operate on the water” as he and his co-accused denied all charges, insisting there was no alcohol on their vessel.

Both will be sentenced next week. RTÉ News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Dublin Port

A judge at a Cork court has told two outboard motor thieves that the targeting of outboard engines for theft is a particularly disquieting crime, writes Tom MacSweeney.

At Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin refused to grant bail to the two men and remanded them in custody for sentencing on November 7.

He said that prison sentences were highly likely.

Giedrius Stoncius (30) and Giedrius Lukosius (33), both with addresses in Mallow, pleaded guilty to the charges of theft in Kinsale in February.

The court was told that the stolen property had been returned to the owners and money had been brought to the court to pay for damage.

The judge said that the methodology and extent of the offences suggested a professional organisation.

Gardaí had warned boat owners about thefts in February.

Published in Kinsale
Tagged under

Patrick McGurgan, a Northern Ireland coroner, has recently called for the introduction of a law to make the wearing of lifejackets compulsory in Northern Ireland, writes Betty Armstrong.

Mr McGurgan had heard two inquests following separate drowning deaths on inland waters which occurred in June and September of last year.

Kenny Andrews (31) of Bangor died in Lower Lough Erne at Muckross Bay, near Kesh, after falling from a jet ski which he and his friend Stephen Kennedy had taken out on the lough on Sunday 9 September 2018.

After turning the craft to return to shore, it capsized and both men were thrown into the water. Neither was wearing a wetsuit or lifejacket. Mr Kennedy survived, and the search continued for the second man.

A multi-agency response got underway involving the Community Rescue Service (CRS), PSNI, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, RNLI and Irish Coast Guard helicopter from Sligo.

Searching continued throughout the evening before being stood down for the night late on Sunday. It resumed the next day.

Volunteers from Strabane CRS assisted in the search for Mr Andrews. The CRS is a charitable organisation operated by volunteers from across the community in Northern Ireland.

They managed, with the use of a multi-beam side scan sonar device, to locate Mr Andrews’ body and, in a joint operation, it was recovered by the PSNI dive team.

Muckross is situated on the north shore of Lower Lough Erne less than a mile from Kesh. It has beaches, picnic areas, a public jetty and a small marina and is said to be very popular with jet skiers.

The other incident was at Portglenone Marina on the banks of the Lower River Bann, when Edelle McGlade from Portstewart fell overboard in the early hours of Thursday 26 June last year.

The marina was in darkness as the lights automatically switch off after 11.30pm and when Ms McGlade stepped off the boat onto the pontoon, she lost her balance, causing the boat to move slightly away, and she fell into the water.

Despite efforts to rescue her she died. The CRS located her body and brought her ashore.

Published in Water Safety
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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