FIE presses for expanded cover-up inquiry
The Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) is pressing the ombudsman for the Irish government to expand its investigation into a cover-up of sea lice problems to include the government’s Department of Foreign Affairs.
Earlier this month, the ombudsman opened an investigation into what it called “possible maladministration” by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (DAFF) during an ongoing inquiry into sea lice problems at Irish salmon farms by the E.U. FIE alleged that DAFF deliberately concealed a report from Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) showing there was a lice problem.
Now, FIE is arguing that the Department of Foreign Affairs instructed DAFF, and not IFI, to respond to the E.U.’s inquiry.
"The Department of Agriculture is both the licensing authority and the promoter of the ambitious plan to build 9 mega-salmon farms in Bays along the Irish west coast,” said Tony Lowes, FIE’s director. “IFI, on the other hand, has long established concerns over the loss of wild salmon due to salmon farms infested with sea lice. Assigning the file to the Department of Agriculture was like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop.”
Lowes, in a statement, accused the Irish government of disregarding procedure to protect its plan.
“If the original complaint has been handled according to the established protocol, the IFI criticisms would have been communicated directly to the (European) commission and the investigation would have had a very different outcome,” Lowes said.