20. Mr. GIN NELL
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) on what authority the secretary of the Department stated in a letter of 22nd May last, in a case which he had not investigated, that all freshwater fisheries are private property, and thereupon refused a permit to fish; whether he is aware that some of the best fresh-water fisheries in Connaught have never been and are not now private property; and whether the matter will be investigated and permits given wherever this is found to be the case?
§ The VICE-PRESIDENT of the DEPARTMENT Of AGRICULTURE, IRELAND (Sir Thomas Russell)
It is a matter of settled law that no public right of fishing can exist in fresh water. The fact that an owner of a fishery may not have interfered with the public in no way prevents him from asserting his right to exclude them when he chooses. The 1141 Department of Agriculture are aware that there are many lakes and rivers, or parts of rivers, in Ireland, the owners of which have never sought to prevent the public from fishing with rod and line, but the fishing rights in these waters are none the less private property.
§ Mr. GINNELL
Will the right hon. Gentleman say why the Department has not investigated these specific cases?