Irish Govt Paying Rent to UK Crown Estate For Use Of Seabed Of Lough Foyle

Irish Govt Paying Rent to UK Crown Estate For Use Of Seabed Of Lough Foyle

 foyle_crownestate

The question to ask is why nothing is being done by the Lough’s Agency regarding 30,000 unregulated and unlicensed oyster trestles located on the foreshore of Lough Foyle between Muff and Moville.

The most broadcast reason being spun by Irish Govt. representatives and local politicians is the inability of both the U.K. and Irish Govt. to agree on the ownership of the lough.

This explanation is a complete nonsense and empty rhetoric.

The fact is the Loughs Agency is already in place by agreement by both Govts and has the legislatory power to deal with this situation.

Loughs Agency Mission Statement: “The Loughs Agency aims to provide sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits through the effective conservation, protection, management, promotion and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford Areas.”

Loughs Agency website: http://www.loughs-agency.org/

So what is the real reason for ignoring this serious situation?

The ‘Elephant in the room’ and not being mentioned by anyone is The Crown Estate.

History Of Crown Estate: https://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/who-we-are/our-history/history/

It is they who claim ownership of the seabed of Lough Foyle (where the oyster trestles are located). The Crown Estate will not agree to the legislation put together by both Govts in 2007 to regulate aquaculture fishing on Lough’s Foyle and Carlingford making it necessary for local fishermen, for the first time in history, to purchase a fishing licence.

This can be seen from this letter from Crown Estates to Irish Govt and N.I. authorities about proposed Foyle and Carlingford legislation: http://savethefoyle.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/crown-estates.pdf

 

Even though there was no agreement between the Crown Estate and the two Govts the Loughs Agency went ahead and applied the licence requirement anyway. Most fishermen relented and paid. Some paid under protest. One fisherman has resolutely refused to take out a licence from day one. This individual was prosecuted by the Loughs Agency in 2011 and he has responded by taking a case against the Agency for denying him his traditional fishing rights. This fisherman is also stating they are prosecuting him without proper legal cause on the basis that the Loughs Agency do not own the seabed on which he was fishing.

This important case is making its way through the court system and is shortly expected to arrive in the Supreme Court of Ireland. The Loughs Agency will not take the risk of making further prosecutions before the outcome of this case. This is the very reason the Loughs Agency are not prosecuting owners of the unlicensed oyster trestles.

The link following shows meeting minutes from a Loughs Agency board meeting (The Loughs Agency is an agency of THE FOYLE CARLINGFORD AND IRISH LIGHTS COMMISSION)

http://savethefoyle.com/2016/12/09/42nd-meeting-of-the-foyle-carlingford-and-irish-lights-commission/

These minutes quite blatantly show that the Dept of Marine in Dublin was already paying rent to the Crown Estate:

“Barry Fox informed the Board on recent contact made with Charles Green from the Crown Estates Commission. He advised that there have been a number of queries from Charles regarding the hecterage currently being used for aquaculture in Lough Foyle. The Agency has been reluctant to supply this information as it will encourage CEC to pursue a higher rent in Lough Foyle than the Department of Marine may agree.”

At this stage how can Irish politicians possibly pretend that they have a claim of the ownership of the seabed when they are paying rent to the actual owners – the Crown Estate. This is hypocrisy of the highest order and it explains in detail why there is never any mention of the role of the Crown Estate.

 

The time for a truthful explanation from the relevant authorities of why there are no prosecutions against the unlicensed oyster trestles is long overdue.

Statements deflecting from the real reasons are unacceptable.

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