Monday, 1 September 2014

Environmental lobby threatens legal action over escaping salmon

An environmental lobby group has threatened to take the Information Commissioner to court as part of its ongoing attempt to obtain a report on the escape of 230,000 salmon in Bantry Bay last February.
Solicitors for Friends of the Irish Environment have written to the commissioner to say they will take High Court action if he fails to indicate when he intends to make a decision on whether to release the report.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney has already refused to release the report, prompting the FIE’s appeal to the commissioner.

Mr Coveney said the report, by the Department of Marine’s engineering division, was a work in progress and the public would not be served by its disclosure.
FIE appealed Mr Coveney’s refusal to the Information Commissioner but have not heard back.
Last week, solicitors O’Connell and Clarke wrote to the commissioner, arguing that his failure to respond was “concerning given that you are on notice of the gravity of this matter and the ongoing danger to the environment”.

The letter warned that should the commissioner fail to respond, FIE would make an application to the High Court compelling him to address their appeal. The report relates to an incident during a storm in Bantry Bay last February, when a cage broke loose resulting in the escape of 230,000 salmon. Mr Lowes said they wanted sight of the report to see if anything had been done since the 2010 report to ensure fish farm installations are being inspected.