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Displaying items by tag: Courts

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

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted three businesses and landowners in the Lough Sheelin and River Camlin catchments between May and September 2019, for the discharge of harmful substances to nearby watercourses.

In June, Kiernan Milling of Granard, Co Longford was convicted in Longford District Court for the discharge of effluent to the River Camlin catchment.

Judge Hughes ordered the payment of €2,441.65 in fines and costs, for breaches under the 1959 Fisheries Consolidation Act.

On 23 July, in Virginia District Court, Mr Patrick Kiernan was convicted and ordered to pay €2,900 in fines and costs, for the discharge of effluent to the Kildorragh River in the Lough Sheelin catchment.

A third conviction was secured by IFI in Virginia District Court in September 2019.

Mr John Lynch, Mountnugent, Co Cavan was ordered to pay €2,500 in fines and costs for allowing the discharge of deleterious matter into the Schoolhouse River, also part of the Lough Sheelin catchment.

In a fourth case in May 2019 at Longford District Court, Judge Hughes disposed of a prosecution by IFI against Mr Derek Moorehead in relation to discharges to a tributary of the Camlin River and ordered Mr Moorehead to pay €500 to a wildlife charity.

Lough Sheelin is a well-known wild brown trout fishery in the Great Western Lakes and one of the most important brown trout angling locations in Ireland, while the River Camlin is an important spawning and nursery location for Lough Ree brown trout.

Amanda Mooney, director of the Shannon River Basin District, said: “Pollution events in the spawning and nursery tributaries along these catchments can threaten indigenous fish populations. The maintenance of the aquatic habitat is vital if we are to sustain and enable wild fish populations to thrive.

“Inland Fisheries Ireland is working to protect and conserve this natural resource to ensure its sustainability into the long term.

“Angling for brown trout in lakes in the Inny catchment and Lough Ree generates important economic activity for rural communities and any impact on fish populations in the area may also have negative impact in this regard.”

Published in Angling

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) secured a conviction against Mr Bryan O’Neill, a riparian landowner on the Munster Blackwater, for removing spawning gravel during last summer’s drought.

On Tuesday 16 July, Judge John King convicted Mr O’Neill at a special sitting of Mallow District Court under Section 173 1 (d) of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for disturbing spawning beds at Gortmore, west of Mallow on the upper Blackwater.

The court heard evidence from Senior Fisheries Environmental Officer (SFEO) Andrew Gillespie that on or around 1 July 2018, large amounts of spawning gravel had been excavated from the river and deposited at a disused quarry adjacent to the river.

Evidence was heard concerning tracks leading from the river across Mr O’Neill’s land to the quarry. The scale of the extraction led SFEO Gillespie to believe the gravel was being removed for commercial reasons.

The court also heard of IFI’s difficulties serving the court summons to Mr O’Neill and that ultimately the assistance of local gardaí was required to do so.

Mr O’Neill denied the charges and claimed that it was his brother who farmed the land and that he himself had been unaware of the gravel extraction until contacted by Cork County Council in September that year.

Convicting Mr O’Neill, Judge King advised the defendant that his evidence was “not credible”, imposed a fine of €500 and awarded costs of €3,388 to IFI.

Sean Long, director of the South Western River Basin District at IFI, said: “This is an important outcome for the Munster Blackwater and Inland Fisheries Ireland. Riparian owners cannot plead ignorance to avoid responsibility for illegal, damaging works carried out on their lands.

“The removal of so many tons of valuable spawning gravels for minor commercial reward demonstrates a callous disregard for the critically endangered indigenous salmonid and lamprey populations, as well as for the wider community that promotes and benefits from responsible angling practices the length of the Munster Blackwater.

“The maintenance of this vulnerable aquatic habitat is vital if we are to sustain and enable wild fish populations to thrive. We are working to protect, conserve and develop our natural fisheries resource which is of significant recreational and economic value to communities in Munster and across the country.

“We encourage all landowners to contact their advisers or Inland Fisheries Ireland before carrying out and works that may inadvertently damage watercourses on or adjacent to their land.”

Published in Inland Waterways

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has prosecuted Irish Water for two separate pollution incidents which occurred in Cavan last summer.

On Thursday 6 June, Judge McLoughlin twice convicted Irish Water at Cavan District Court under the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 for allowing harmful substances to enter the water on two occasions in June last year.

Over 600 fish were killed as a result of one pollution incident while an important habitat for spawning and young fish was damaged as a result of the other.

The court heard evidence from fisheries inspector Cormac Goulding that on 19 June 2018, staff from IFI noticed that the river downstream of the Ballinagh Treatment Plant in Cavan was in very poor condition.

The water was cloudy and the river was covered in sewage fungus and algal growth.

Following an investigation, it was discovered that untreated sewage was being discharged from the water treatment plant and at the pumping station further downstream.

Irish Water issued a report to IFI in response to the prosecution which revealed that their computerised monitoring system had been offline for six days, which meant that no alerts had been received about the problem.

The effluent was being discharged into aquatic habitat suitable for spawning or young trout.

Judge McLoughlin fined Irish Water €3,000 and total costs of €4,679 were awarded to IFI.

A separate pollution incident occurred a few days later on 25 June 2018 in Cavan Town River.

Judge McLoughlin heard evidence from Ailish Keane, senior environmental fisheries officer at IFI, about how the pollution incident resulted in the death of hundreds of fish including 687 native brown trout.

An investigation found that the fish kill was caused by the release of sewage effluent into the river from an overflow culvert located under Farnham Street Bridge.

Irish Water were again convicted and fined €4,000 plus costs of €4,346.

Milton Matthews, director of the North Western River Basin District at IFI, said: “In both cases in Cavan, harmful material was discharged into local rivers and in Cavan town this resulted in a large kill of over 600 native brown trout, of all age classes.

“As it can take years for a waterbody to recover to its former condition following pollution incidents, it is crucial that robust management systems are in place to prevent avoidable incidents which can have a serious impact on our wild fish and their natural habitat.

“The restoration of the aquatic habitat and the maintenance of water quality is vital if we are to enable wild fish populations to recover naturally.

“We are working to protect, conserve and develop our natural fisheries resource which is of significant recreational and economic value to communities in Cavan and across the country.”

Published in Angling
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The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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