Campaigner calls on local representatives to 'waken up' over Lough Foyle jurisdiction claims

“You can't claim jurisdiction over something you don't own” - local campaigner

We need to protect the beauty of Lough Foyle, says local councillor

Lough Foyle.

The thorny issue of who has jurisdiction over Lough Foyle has been raised once again.

Moville resident Enda Craig has urged local representatives to 'wake up' and finally end all confusion over the Lough.

Mr Craig made the comments following a motion at last week's monthly meeting of Donegal County Council, where the issue of unregulated oyster fishing was raised.

At the meeting in Letterkenny, local councillor Terry Crossan highlighted the environmental and visual impact an estimated 60,000 oyster trestles is having on the Lough.

The Muff-based councillor asked council officials to contact the Marine Minister to engage with his British counterparts to seek to resolve the jurisdictional issues.

However Mr Craig stated that there are no 'jurisdictional issues' between Britain and Ireland as the Crown Estate owns the seabed of Lough Foyle.

The lough has been a disputed area between Britain and Ireland since the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922.

“You can't claim jurisdiction over something you don't own, it's that simple,” he told the Inish Times.

The Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings within the UK belonging to the British monarch as a corporation.

Mr Craig said that the issue of jurisdiction has been settled and that local representatives should recognise that fact.

“I know that local representatives deal with numerous issues on a daily basis so they may not understand fully that Ireland has no jurisdiction over the lough at all, but it is time that they waken up and stop claiming jurisdiction over something that they don't own.”

He also highlighted the feeling of 'unequal treatment' that traditional oyster fishermen have received over the ongoing unregulated farms dotted along the Lough Foyle coast.

“The traditional wild oyster fishermen look on as oysters are being harvested in large numbers on trestles on the shoreline of Lough Foyle by fishermen who are not burdened with a licence fee.”

He added: “Any attempt to resolve the issue of licensing on the sea-bed of Lough Foyle without firstly taking into account it's ownership by the Crown Estates is putting the cart before the horse and is doomed to failure.”

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