Three members of a family who were using a traditional poaching method in the ‘Sofa Pool’ — a rich salmon pool on the Blackwater fishery near Kenmare — have each been fined.
Kenmare District Court was told yesterday how the exchanges between Jack Clifford, of Derrendarragh, Blackwater, his brother Tony Clifford, aged 66, formerly of Dereendarragh and living in Sussex, and Tony Clifford’s 31-year-old son, Tim Clifford and fisheries officers, had been “heated”.
However, matters became “more civilised” when gardaí arrived on the scene on August 16, 2015, the defence solicitor said.
Jack Clifford’s crutch, which was found lying on the ground, had been confiscated, along with a large net and three salmon.
The previous court in May heard how the men had been throwing stones into the net in the pool — an old poaching method — when Inland Fisheries Office arrived.
“Things were said. Offence was taken, and the handling of the crutch formed part of the evidence,” said defence solicitor Kate Hallissey.
She explained how Jack Clifford had been on a crutch because of a bad accident at work. Tony Clifford had been wearing a nylon stocking on his head.
However, Ms Hallissey argued that this was in fact “a midge protection” rather than a mask as the previous court had been told.
All three apologised for their behaviour.
Judge James O’Connor yesterday ordered the fishing equipment, and the salmon be forfeited by the fisheries authority.
However, Jack Clifford’s crutch could be released to him.
None had previous convictions for fisheries offences. All three were convicted and fined for obstructing fisheries officers and of having unlawfully caught three salmon. A charge of intimidating fisheries officers was taken into consideration in the sentencing. Tim Clifford was further convicted of not giving his name to fisheries officers. He was fined at total of €675; Tony Clifford was fined €500; Jack Clifford was fined €425 plus €250 costs.
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