----- The Voice of Ireland's Fishing Industry and Maritime Community - Published Monthly, Established 1989 -----

Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2017 confirms the explicit power on Inland Fisheries Ireland to bring and prosecute summary proceedings for inland fisheries offences

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, T.D., signed a commencement order appointing the 11 July 2017 as the day on which the Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2017 (No. 16 of 2017) comes into operation. The Act was signed by the President on 6 July 2017.

13th July 2017

The Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2017 confers an explicit power on Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to bring and prosecute summary proceedings for inland fisheries offences. This Act resolves an issue concerning IFI's power to prosecute that came to light in February 2017. It ensures that IFI is fully empowered to enforce the Inland Fisheries Acts and to protect and conserve Ireland's valuable inland fisheries and sea-angling resource.

Minister Naughten said: "I am extremely pleased to commence the Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2017 today. The early passage of this Act into law safeguards our valuable inland fisheries resources and ensures that there is no period during which offences under the Inland Fisheries Acts can be committed with impunity. IFI is once again empowered to pursue prosecutions for offences under the Inland Fisheries Acts."

IFI is the state agency responsible for the protection, conservation, development and promotion of Ireland's inland fisheries and sea angling resources.

Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development, Seán Kyne said "Having taken the Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Bill through both the Dáil and Seanad I am delighted to see this law being signed today. This law ensures that Inland Fisheries Ireland has clear powers to act in cases of river pollution and to combat poaching of fish stocks. As such it will help Inland Fisheries Ireland carry out one of its core responsibilities of protecting, managing and conserving over 74,000 kilometres of rivers and streams and 128,000 hectares of lakes across the country."

Inland Fisheries Ireland has welcomed the Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2017 (No.16 of 2017), following the signing of a commencement order by Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten T.D yesterday.
The Inland Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2017 confirms the explicit power on Inland Fisheries Ireland to bring and prosecute summary proceedings for inland fisheries offences. This act resolves an issue concerning Inland Fisheries Ireland's power to prosecute which arose in February 2017 and resulted in required amendments to the fisheries legislation.

In February, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment informed Inland Fisheries Ireland that it had received legal advice to the effect that Inland Fisheries Ireland did not have explicit power to prosecute offences under the Fisheries Acts. The Department also advised that pending the enactment of amending legislation, which was urgently progressed, Inland Fisheries Ireland summonses for such offences before the Courts were, regrettably, not able to proceed.

The legislation commenced confirms that Inland Fisheries Ireland has the power to prosecute once again for offences under the Fisheries Acts. In the interim period since the legislative issue came to light, Fisheries Officers continued to work as normal with the detection of offences continuing in the intervening period. This means that any offences detected during the past six month period will now be able to proceed to prosecution in the normal manner.

Dr Ciaran Byrne, CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland said: "We welcome the commencement of this new legislation which safeguards our ability to prosecute, and as a result, protects our fisheries resource which is of significant environmental, social and economic value to our country. This means that our staff can continue to ensure that this valuable natural resource is protected, conserved, managed and developed for the communities it serves across Ireland."

Inland Fisheries Ireland has worked closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment which has been advised by the Attorney General throughout the process. For more information, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie

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