Men caught illegally fishing tried to sail away on boat with Fisheries Officers on board

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THREE MEN WHO were recovered successful possession of illegally-caught food tried to sail distant from enactment connected a vessel portion 2 Fisheries Officers were connected board.

A 3rd serviceman was knocked overboard by 1 of the men during what the caput of Inland Fisheries Ireland described arsenic “one of the astir superior incidents that the bureau has travel across”.

Ballina District Court convicted the 3 Mayo men of mendacious imprisonment, battle and obstruction, arsenic good arsenic possessing illegally-caught chaotic Atlantic salmon and nets.

The tribunal heard grounds from IFI Inspector Lonan O’Farrell Fisheries Officers approached the men astatine Belderrig Pier successful northbound Mayo connected the evening of 15 July 2020.

The officers suspected that the men had illegally-caught chaotic Atlantic salmon and amerciable gill nets connected board.

However, they were ‘obstructed and assaulted’ erstwhile they attempted to committee the vessel, O’Farrell told the court.

One of the men assaulted and knocked 1 of the officers overboard, the tribunal heard. The serviceman swam backmost to the pier and contacted exigency services. 

The men brought the vessel retired to oversea with 2 of the officers connected committee the vas and did not initially comply with orders to instrumentality to the port, the tribunal heard.

They aboriginal agreed to bring the vessel backmost to the larboard and the Fisheries Officers returned to the pier.

The vessel was subsequently detained successful Porturlin Harbour and forensics and salmon standard samples were taken arsenic evidence.

Fisheries Officers and gardaí seized 3 vehicles connected the nighttime belonging to the men successful question.

Inspector Pat Armstrong, Officer Brian Flannery and Assistant Inspector Michael Wilson of Inland Fisheries Ireland besides gave grounds during tribunal proceedings to Judge Fiona Lydon.

Daniel McHale, with an code of Belderrig Mor successful Ballina, was sentenced to six months successful prison. Liam McHale of Carnrock successful Belmullet was sentenced to 4 months and Joachim McNulty, with an code of Belderrig Beg successful Ballina, was sentenced to 4 months. All of the sentences were suspended for 2 years.

The 3 men were besides ordered to wage €2,500 each to charity. Fisheries Officers nominated the Charlie Bird Fund, Western Alzheimer’s Association and the RNLI  to person the donations.

The CEO of Inland Fisheries Ireland, Francis O’Donnell, said successful a connection that it was 1 of the astir superior incidents that the bureau has travel across.

He said that “in the people of doing their occupation to support susceptible food species, specified arsenic chaotic Atlantic salmon”, officers were “obstructed, assaulted and falsely imprisoned”.

“This is not acceptable and cannot beryllium tolerated successful Irish society,” O’Donnell said.

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