IFI gains court convictions against three men for illegal angling on Lough Sheelin

The quality of Sheelin’s trout draws anglers from all over the world.

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has secured convictions against three men in two separate cases of illegal angling on Lough Sheelin, resulting in fines totalling over €5,000.

The three men were prosecuted for trolling – drawing a fishing line through the water behind a boat – outside of the permitted season on the internationally famous Irish trout lough. The fines were exacerbated by the men’s refusal to pay their fines on the spot.

Commenting, David McInerney Shannon River Basin District Director at IFI said: “These cases highlight the seriousness of failing to comply with angling regulations, and of obstructing fishery officers while doing their work.

“It also serves as a reminder, that Fixed Charged Penalty Notices (FCPN) are issued in lieu of court proceedings, and failure to pay these fines can result in court convictions.

“Angling rules must be obeyed to support the management and protection of the unique Lough Sheelin fishery. In general, compliance among anglers in Lough Sheelin is high.”

It is illegal to troll on Lough Sheelin between March 1 and June 16 – a ban introduced to help conserve fish stocks.

Mullingar District Court heard how Jason Bennett and Thomas McCarthy from Co Offaly were offered the opportunity to pay a FCPN of €150 for the alleged offences at Clareisland, Co Westmeath, but did not do so. Both men failed to have a Midland permit required to fish on Lough Sheelin at the time of the incident on June 3, 2023. A fine €500 was imposed on both defendants, with costs of €1,053 also charged to each man, in court on January 26, 2024.

Separately, Marius Sarauskas of Navan, Co. Meath was prosecuted for obstructing IFI officers while they were attempting to issue him with a Fixed Charge Penalty Notice (FCPN) of €150 for illegal trolling on the lough on May 13, 2023.
On February 2, 2024 he was fined €400, and must also pay €1,642 toward the costs of the case.

Fines for the three men totalled €5,150.