FIE has written to Pat Rabbitte asking him to take issue with the Ombudsman who has accepted the Department of Agriculture's claim that the scientific advice provided by Inland Fisheries Ireland for an EU investigation into salmon and sea lice contained 'many inaccuracies', 'fundamental errors', and 'omissions of relevant facts and misleading commentaries' which 'would have had disastrous results for Ireland's reputation had it sent the report to the European Commission'. 


The Ombudsman's ruling was in response to a Request for Redress for Maladministration we made after our investigation showed that the Department of Agriculture had not provided the EU with the IFI report critical of its response to the commission.


The files document that the Department of Agriculture failed to provide the commission with the 'express views' requested from IFI as part of the investigation. The investigation, which began in 2010, was subsequently closed by the Commission in 2012.


Plans were then announced by the Department of Agriculture to double national production of farmed salmon at one site in Galway Bay, with eight further farms planned along the coast.


The Ombudsman accepted DAFF's claims without question, undertaking no investigation. 'The fundamental principle that the other side must be heard was ignored by the Ombudsman, who simply went to the body against which the complaint was lodged and accepted their defence word for word.'


'The Minister for Communications can not cut his agency adrift to sink or swim when it is accused of such incompetence.'


In fact, the irony is that the fundamental errors lay with the Department of Agriculture and it is the work of their Agency, the Marine Institute, discounting the influence of sea lice on wild salmon which has been disgraced and has had a disastrous result for Ireland's reputation in Brussels.


Deputy Clare Daly has tabled a written Parliamentary Question asking Minister Rabbitte if he accepts the position of the Ombudsman. It is due for reply later this week.


The Ombudsman's ruling is at the FIE website at



The letter to Minister Rabbitte is at




Written Parliamentary Questions

due for reply 27 February 2014


Minister for Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources 

If the Minister accepted the position of the Ombudsman that the Department of Agriculture Food and Fisheries was correct in its views that Inland Fisheries Ireland's submission prepared for the European Commission during the recent Pilot investigation of salmon and sea lice contained 'many inaccuracies', 'fundamental errors', and 'omissions of relevant facts and misleading commentaries' which "would have had disastrous results for Ireland's reputation had it sent the report to the European Commission".

 Clare Daly, TD

Minister for Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries

If the Minister could explain why his Department has not responded to the European Commission's request for their views on the reopening of the Pilot investigation into sea lice and salmon farms for which response the deadline was January 15, 2014 and would he make a statement on the matter. 

Clare Daly, TD

Update on Bantry Bay escapes
This week saw the counting of the remaining fish in the farm at Bantry Bay. Local reports indicate that the upended cage is empty with less than half the fish remaining in the other year-at-sea cage as well as a number of loses from the cage of smaller fish. The figure for loses now looks to be about 120,000 fish.
Research on the subject shows that in Ireland between 1996 -2004 the number of escaped salmon was estimated at 415,000. It may well be that the 'healthy' Irish rivers are in fact stocked with salmon that have Norwegian genetic makeup from where the ova are sourced. Ireland maintains a genetic database for all 146 salmon rivers. It would be simple enough to sample (on a voluntary basis) a scale from each fish caught by license holders to determine the level of escapees in our rivers, but there seems to be no appetite on behalf of the Government to do so. No prizes for why.
Decision on salmon farms delayed
Simon Coveney has indicated that it will be six months before he is able to make a decision on the salmon farm licences before him in Galway and Bantry Bays. While not giving a reason, the Commission has informed FIE that Ireland did not respond to the questions over the suppression of the IFI report by the deadline of January 15, 2014. They have sought more time to 'coordinate agency responses', a chilling phrase in this context. The Commission informed FIE that the Irish response will be sent to us for comment.
Doonbeg Windfarm Update
Donald Trump, the new owner of the Doonbeg Golf Club, may turn out to be a friend to the environment - or at least a supporter of FIE's work against the proposed wind farm near the golf course he has just purchased. FIE and local residents successfully appealed the previous grant of permission but the developers have now reduced the number of turbines and sought permission once again. Deadline for submissions is 7 March, 2014. Donald Trump's support could be a great boost to those who love this area and who have labored through the exhaustive and exhausting planning process once - including a multi-day oral hearing - only to face into the same process again, poorer and disillusion with a system that lets persistent developers re-apply again and again.
Another Haulbowline?
Residents in New Ross have been in contact after the recent storms scattered yet more asbestos cladding from the abandoned Albatross Fertiliser factory across the area. The factory ceased production in 1987 but was never cleaned up. Uranium, arsenic, thorium, and mercury are all by products of the production of fertiliser from rock phosphate. The family owned business has developed into a wealthy Galway property company and have just done a deal to spend roughly €1/2 million over the next 5 years to 'clean up' the site. Pictures show the abandoned laboratory 20 inches deep in a white powder. No site investigation of any depth has taken place and the owners emphatically deny the presence of any contamination. The EPA has no contaminated site register and refuses responsibility because production ceased before they were established in 1991. At Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbor they sent workers onto the steel plant's 9 hectare tip with no hazardous protocols in place before an accident led to revelations about the extent of the contamination. Will they do the same here? See the Facebook page. 
Earth Hour 2014 is Saturday March 29 2014 at 8.30 PM
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