Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is prosecuting Uisce Éireann in connection with a fish kill that occurred in north Clare in May of this year.

At Ennis District Court, solicitor for IFI Joe Devereux appeared in connection with IFI issuing two summons to Uisce Éireann and stated that “this is the first time that they are before the court”.

In the case, Uisce Éireann is accused of permitting deleterious matter to go into a waterway at Calluragh East, Ennistymon, contrary to Section 171 of the Fisheries Act on 2 May and 18 May of this year.

In a statement on 9 May, IFI stated that it was investigating a serious incident near Ennistymon where up to 2,000 fish died which had occurred over the previous week.

'Ecological issue'

The fish kill occurred on the Ballymacraven River and spread for 2.6km in length where the Ballymacravan River meets the Inagh River.

Species of fish discovered dead include a large number of eel, along with salmon, trout, rudd and flounder of all ages.

IFI first became aware of an ecological issue when a member of the public informed staff of a rusty red colour on the river.

In court after reading the summons, Judge Alec Gabbett said: “The allegation is this is polluting our waterway and one would assume an outfall from a sewage treatment plant which isn’t meeting a certain standard?”

Judge Gabbett said that disclosure has been provided to Uisce Éireann “and would one assume to put it back for a plea or a date?”

Mr Devereux said "yes judge”.

Mr Devereux said that the Uisce Éireann solicitor was seeking a date towards the end of January, commenting: "This is, I presume, an opportunity for them to go through the disclosure fully.”

Treatment plants

Judge Gabbett commented: "We don’t have enough treatment plants in some places in Clare and we need them badly and when they are there and they are allegedly not working it concerns me even more so.”

In July, Uisce Éireann said that it had undertaken changes to the management of Ennistymon Wastewater Treatment Plant as a precautionary measure.

The plant serves a population of almost 7,000 people in the wider north Clare area, including Ennistymon, Lahinch, Kilfenora, Doolin, Fanore and Ballyvaughan.

A €4.5m upgrade of the Ennistymon Water Treatment Plant is currently at construction stage and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

In July, Uisce Éireann said it remains committed to safeguarding public health and protecting the environment to enable communities to thrive by continuously upgrading and developing critical infrastructure in the support of sustainable development.

Judge Gabbett adjourned the case to 12 January to Ennis District Court.