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Displaying items by tag: Courts

Irish Water has admitted multiple counts over a pollution event that threatened vulnerable freshwater pearl mussels in a Co Cork river, as The Irish Times reports.

The water utility pleaded guilty to eight counts of breaching is licence terms in connection with highly elevated levels of ammonia and orthophosphate in run-off from a treatment plant in Boherbue, in the northwest of the county.

The case was brought by the Environmental Protection Agency, who gave evidence to the court on the status of the rare mussels in the protected conservation area of the Brogeen River.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has confirmed that it is seeking a judicial review into the granting of an aquaculture licence for Atlantic salmon at in Bantry Bay.

As the matter is due before the High Court tomorrow, Tuesday 28 September, and the State agency with responsibility for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats says “it will not be possible…to make any further comments at this stage in the process”.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a licence was granted by the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board this summer — following a protracted appeals process over several years — to Mowi Ireland for an 18-pen facility at Shot Head in Co Cork.

Published in Aquaculture

Two men in Dundalk have been convicted of illegally killing pike and have been ordered to pay fines following prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Ernestas Gaska, with an address on Riverside Drive, received a €300 fine following his conviction at Dundalk District Court on Thursday 2 September.

Also in Dundalk District Court on the same date, Arturas Bagvilas, with an address on Bothair Na Carraig, received a €300 fine following his own conviction.

IFI fisheries officers — who had been on routine patrol in the area of Drumcah Lough, some 8km west of Dundalk — outlined the facts of the case before Judge Eirinn McKiernan of how Gaska and Bagvilas had been observed in the act of illegal fishing on the lake, taking and killing pike on Sunday 11 October 2020.

The pair’s boat was seized and as a statutory consequence of their conviction for use of a boat contrary to Section 285 (A)(1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, the vessel is now automatically forfeited.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the State agency responsible for the protection and conservation of freshwater fish and habitats initiated 119 prosecutions for fisheries-related offences in 2020, compared with 67 prosecutions in 2019.

It also seized 1,287 illegal fishing items last year, up from 788 items the year before.

Published in Angling

Two people have been fined and sentenced to prison for illegal netting of salmon on the River Barrow last summer in prosecutions taken by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Michael Malone, of Taghmon, Co Wexford, received a sentence of five months’ imprisonment and a €2,000 fine and was ordered to pay €1,245 in court costs at Kilkenny District Court on Monday 12 July.

Also in Kilkenny District Court on the same date, James Malone, with an address in Graiguenamangh, Co Kilkenny, received a sentence of three months’ imprisonment and a €1,500 fine and was ordered to pay €1,245 in court costs.

The court heard from IFI how both men had been observed in the act of illegal netting on the River Barrow, attempting to capture salmon.

As a statutory consequence of the conviction for use of a boat contrary to Section 285 (A)(1) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, the boat that was seized by IFO is now automatically forfeited.

The breaches of Fisheries legislation occurred on 21 July 2020 on the River Barrow, in the townland of Bauck, Co Carlow and Kilconnelly, Co Kilkenny.

Evidence in relation to the offence was given before Judge Brian O’Shea, who proceeded to convict the defendants on all charges under Section 96, 97, 65 and 285A of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959. The case has been appealed to the Circuit Court.

IFI recently revealed that a total of 250 illegal fishing nets, measuring 13,158 metres in total, were among the 1,287 items seized by the agency on its patrols and inspections in 2020, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Angling

A Cork man has been jailed for four months on three charges including assault on a fisheries officer.

Jason Callaghan, with an address on Lower Barrack Street, was convicted by Judge Brian O’Shea at a special sitting of Midleton District Court on Tuesday 27 April.

The court was told how officers from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had observed Callaghan illegally fishing with two other men in the Owenacurra River at the Cork Road Bridge in Midleton on the afternoon of Sunday 21 July 2019.

At the time, the river was closed to angling for the protection and conservation of salmon and sea trout stocks.

The court heard Callaghan fled the scene when approached by fisheries officers. He was then pursued from the river to the town centre where he assaulted a fisheries officer with the metal end of a fishing rod, injuring the officer and causing him to fall to the ground.

The assault was witnessed by a plain-clothes garda attending the incident. The garda also gave evidence during the hearing which lasted for several hours.

Judge O’Shea fined Callaghan €500, handing him an additional two-month custodial sentence for use of a strokehaul. Callaghan was further convicted of impeding an authorised officer and was given a four-month custodial sentence for assaulting an authorised officer, to run concurrent with the two-month sentence.

Callaghan, who had previous fisheries convictions, fully contested the charges and gave evidence to the court.

Kieran Ryan of Bishopstown and Calvin Morrissey of Carrignavar, who had been illegally fishing with Callaghan, were also convicted. Ryan received a two-month custodial sentence for use of a strokehaul and one month for impeding an authorised officer. Morrissey was convicted of use of a strokehaul and impeding an authorised officer and fined €500 on both counts.

All the charges were brought under the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959.

Judge O’Shea rejected submissions from legal representatives for the three accused and stated that Callaghan had told lies in the witness box which he “expressly rejected”. He noted that there was “no hint of an apology and no remorse shown” by Callaghan or his co-defendants.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “The safety of our fisheries officers is of utmost importance to IFI. This was a reckless assault on an officer in broad daylight on a busy street which could have had significant consequences for a man simply trying to carry out his job.

“Thankfully, our staff member was back at work after a couple of days and able to continue protecting our fisheries resource.

“I hope these custodial sentences will give would-be offenders pause for thought. An assault on a fisheries officer is a severe matter and we will continue to prosecute offenders without exception.”

Published in Angling

A Clonmel man has been convicted on five charges including assaulting fisheries officers stemming from a poaching incident at Inniscarra Dam in May last year.

Officers of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) had observed Craig Brew fishing in a prohibited area known as the ‘Flush’ at the face of the ESB dam on 23 May 2020.

Evidence was heard that Brew — who had travelled from Tipperary to Cork during the COVID-19 lockdown — had refused to cooperate and violently threatened and resisted the fisheries officers before gardaí arrived to assist.

Brew was convicted by Judge Marian O’Leary at Cork District Court on Wednesday 21 April and fined €500 for illegal entry upon the private fishery, €400 for obstructing the fisheries officers, €500 for assault and €300 for not having a Salmon Rod Ordinary Licence.

Judge O’Leary also fined the defendant €300 for using a vehicle to aid the commission of an offence and considered an ancillary disqualification for the use of the vehicle. Costs of €400 were awarded to IFI and an order for forfeiture of the fishing rods used was granted.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District, said: “The welfare of our Fisheries Officers is of foremost importance to IFI and that they can carry out their necessary work while ensuring their own personal safety. We are concerned at the level of threatening and aggressive behaviour towards fisheries officers in the area and on social media.

“While we are satisfied with the convictions in this case, an assault on a fisheries officer is a severe matter and offenders will be prosecuted without exception. I urge anglers and members of the public to report illegal fishing through IFI’s confidential hotline on 1890 34 74 24 or 1890 FISH 24.”

Published in Angling

The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife on a boating holiday in Co Fermanagh has heard the company that hired out the boat to the accused had failed to supply enough lifejackets on board, as BBC News reports.

Stephen McKinney of Fintona, Co Tyrone denies the murder of Lu Na McKinney, the 35-year-old mother of two whose body was found near Devenish Island on Lough Erne in April 2017.

It was originally suspected that McKinney slipped from the deck of the boat which was hired from Manor House Marine, a director of which was questioned during the second day of the murder trial at Dungannon Crown Court yesterday, Thursday 29 April.

The director admitted that the correct checks on paperwork for the boat rental had not been completed, and lifejackets were not supplied for the family’s two children.

He also denied that the so-called ‘boat acceptance certificate’ was filled in after the fact of the tragic death for insurance purposes.

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

Tagged under

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
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