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Minister Announces New Appointments to the Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland

24th December 2023
Inland Fisheries Ireland logo
Inland Fisheries Ireland will have a new board and chair from 16 January 2024, following their appointment on 21 December

The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan has announced the appointment of a chairperson and eight board members to the board of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).

Minister Ryan has made the following appointments to the board to commence their terms of office on 16 January 2024:

  • Professor Tom Collins, Chairperson
  • Maria Graham
  • Jackie Maguire
  • Raymond O’Dwyer
  • Aebhín Cawley
  • Jonathan Derham
  • Karin Dubsky
  • Paul Leo Connolly
  • Lorraine O’Donnell (Staff Representative)

These board appointments were made pursuant to Section 12 of the Inland Fisheries Act 2010, in accordance with the Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards and the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.

IFI is the State agency responsible for the protection, management and conservation of Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources. It was formed on 1 July 2010 following the amalgamation of the Central Fisheries Board and the seven Regional Fisheries Boards into a single agency.

Ireland has over 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams and 128,000 hectares of lakes, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of IFI.

Speaking on Thursday 21 December, Minister Ryan said: “I am delighted to be in a position to appoint a full new board of Inland Fisheries Ireland — this, in conjunction with the recently completed Governance Review of the organisation, will make for a fresh start and new beginning for IFI to carry out its hugely important statutory functions.

“The new board members bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the table across a range of areas including governance, strategic planning, environmental protection, land use management, biodiversity, estuarine ecology, sustainable fishery management and conservation.

“In appointing Professor Tom Collins as the new chairperson of IFI, I wish to highlight his accomplished track record in chairing and leading multiple organisations across the public service for over 20 years. Prof Collins has developed extensive experience on matters pertaining to inland fisheries, including work on the conservation of Atlantic salmon which culminated in the banning of drift net fishing in Irish coastal waters and as chairperson of the Rural Water Monitoring Group and chairperson of An Fóram Uisce. Additionally, Prof Collins has been at the forefront in university governance contexts at chairperson level since 2013. I know he’ll do a great job and will be supported by a formidable board.”

Also on Thursday, Minister Ryan published the Governance Review of IFI carried out by EY, which was commissioned at the minister’s instruction by the Section 18 appointees (Tom Barry and Séamus Neely) carrying out the functions of IFI following the dissolution of the previous board earlier this year.

EY examined the governance arrangements and operations of IFI and the report includes recommendations on how to address a number of important issues. The recommendations therein will be considered by the new board with a view to implementation during 2024.

After their term expires on 15 January, Barry and Neely will take on new roles supporting the IFI board and executive in overseeing the implementation of the Governance Review recommendations.

Minister Ryan said: “The Governance Review will enable the new board to start with a clean slate, with clear understanding of the work for the year ahead. The new board will need to ensure that there continues to be a strong focus in the organisation on the conservation, protection and management of the inland fisheries resource as the core statutory function of IFI. Through continuing to focusing on this conservation imperative, we will enable an increase in healthy ecosystems for our fisheries to thrive again.

“It is important that I also place on record my gratitude to recognise the hard work and diligence of the staff who have continued to work hard in IFI during this uncertain time. It is also important that I thank the caretaker appointees, Mr Tom Barry and Mr Séamus Neely, who have led IFI through a challenging period and I know their commitment and duty of care to the organisation has not gone unrecognised both by IFI staff and my Department.”

The Governance Review of IFI is available on the website of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.

Published in News Update Team

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