PRESS RELEASE, FRIENDS OF THE IRISH ENVIRONMENT: A call has been made for Pat Rabbitte to back his Agency, Inland Fisheries Ireland [IFI]
SUNDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2014
The call comes after the Ombudsman 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 made by Friends of the Irish Environment after their extensive investigation showed that DAFF had not provided the IFI report critical of the Department’s response to the commission.
The files document that DAFF’s 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.
According to Friend of the Irish Environment, 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, FIE says 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 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.
Verification and Contact: Tony Lowes 353 27 74771 / 353 (0)87 2176316
The Ombudsman’s ruling is at the FIE website at
The chronology of the Request for Redress
The text of the Parliamentary Question:
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”.