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Inland Fisheries Ireland/X

Uisce Éireann pleads guilty to two water pollution charges over north Clare ‘fish kill'

The fish kill, where up to 2,000 fish died, occurred on the Ballymacraven River downstream of Irish Water’s Ballymacraven water treatment plant.

UISCE ÉIREANN HAS pleaded guilty to two water pollution charges in connection with a ‘fish kill’ that occurred downstream of one of its water treatment plant in north Clare last May.

In the case before Ennis District Court, solicitor for prosecuting authority in the case, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), Kevin Sherry said that Uisce Éireann is pleading guilty to permitting deleterious matter to go into a waterway at Calluragh East, Ennistymon contrary to Section 171 of the Fisheries Act.

The dates of the offences are 2 and 18 May 2023. The fish kill, where up to 2,000 fish died, occurred on the Ballymacraven River downstream of Irish Water’s Ballymacraven water treatment plant.

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

Sherry said that on the basis of the guilty pleas, other counts against Uisce Éireann can be withdrawn.

Sherry said that there is also agreement concerning the reasonable discharge of reasonable costs of the IFI prosecution.

Counsel for Uisce Éireann, Rebecca Treacy BL said that the case could be adjourned to next month for facts in the case to be heard.

The guilty pleas come at the end of a IFI investigation into the fish kill in early May on the Ballymacraven River which 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.

Asked to comment on the guilty pleas, a spokesman for Uisce Éireann said today: “Uisce Éireann is committed to safeguarding public health and protecting the environment in all our activities.

“Following an incident in May 2023, which regretfully resulted in a fish kill in the Ballymacraven River, downstream of the Ballymacraven Water Treatment Plant, we have put in a number of measures to seek to ensure such an incident does not recur and we expect to outline those to the court in due course.”

The spokesman said: “In particular, Uisce Éireann wishes to assure the local community that a €7.5 million upgrade to the Ballymacraven Water Treatment Plant is progressing well and is due to the completed in 2024.”

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

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