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// Weir to be removed after long-running dispute
A WEIR on one of the country's finest salmon fisheries is to be removed after a long-running legal battle was settled.
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, announced last night that the Clondulane weir on the Blackwater River will be removed next summer after settlement was reached in advance of the hearing of the court case.
A long-running dispute had developed between the Government and the Duke of Devonshire, owner of Lismore Castle, the weir and the fishing rights on a one-and-three-quarter mile stretch of the river because the Duke believed the weir's removal would have a drastic impact on salmon fishing all along the river.
However, the Government, acting on instructions from Europe, wanted the structure removed to allow free migration of salmon and other fish up the river.
In July 2006 then Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Noel Dempsey issued a direction requiring the removal of the weir.
However, Lismore Realty Ltd and Lismore Trust Ltd brought judicial review proceedings against that move.
Yesterday, however, the Government said an agreement had been reached before the matter made it to the court.
"The terms are that the parties will bear their own costs and Lismore Realty Ltd and Lismore Trust Ltd will pay all reasonable costs of the removal of the Clondulane weir, which will take place during summer 2012," said Mr Rabbitte.
"Inland Fisheries Ireland will act as agents of the minister and manage the removal of the structure so as to minimise the impact on flora, fauna and habitat in the river, which is in a Special Area of Conservation."
By Eoin English and Stephen Rogers
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2011