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"Back Your Agency" Call To Rabbitte after Ombudsman Ruling on EU Investigation into Salmon and Sea Lice

category national | environment | press release author Monday February 24, 2014 20:58author by foie Report this post to the editors

Friends of Irish Environment

Press Release 22-02-2014

FIE has written to Pat Rabbitte asking him to take issue with the Ombudsman who has 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 we made after our investigation showed that the Department of Agriculture had not provided the EU with the IFI report critical of its response to the commission.

The files document that the Department of Agriculture 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.

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, the irony is 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 been disgraced and 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.

The Ombudsman's ruling and the letter to Minister Rabbitte is at the FIE website at

http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/cmsfiles/Li...4.pdf

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