§ MR. COX (Clare, E.)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, If it is a fact that, at a Court of Petty Sessions held recently at Kilrush, in the county of Clare, an extensive stake net proprietor named Simon M'Auliffe, who is also a member of the Limerick Board of Conservators, was prosecuted for illegally fishing his weirs in the tidal waters during the weekly close time; whether, though the case was clearly proved against him, the magistrates inflicted only the minimum penalty of £10, the maximum penalty being £50; whether M'Auliffe will be permitted to retain his seat at the Board of Conservators; whether proprietors of salmon weirs and seine and drift nets are allowed to act in the capacity of Conservators; whether a strict and impartial inquiry will be held into the question of illegal net fishing in the estuary; and, whether any, and what, steps will be taken to prevent wholesale poaching in the lower, middle, and upper waters of the Shannon?
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. HOLMES) (Dublin University)
(who replied) said: The facts are as stated in the first and second paragraphs of the Question of the hon. Member. There is no power to deprive Mr. M'Auliffe of his seat at the Board of Conservators. Proprietors of several fisheries, valued at £100 a-year, are by statute constituted ex officio conservators, and such proprietors may use salmon weirs or seine or drift nets. Inquiries have been held—one of them very lately—into the question of illegal net fishing in the estuary of the Shannon, and a bye-law is being prepared with a view of meeting some of the evils now existing. The Conservators are the body charged with the enforcement of the laws to prevent poaching.