Press Release

IFI gains convictions against 3 men for illegal angling on Lough Sheelin

Combined fines and costs of €5,150 secured against anglers

Failure to pay fines leads to court convictions in both incidents

Inland Fisheries Ireland(IFI) has secured convictions against three men in two separate cases of illegal angling on Lough Sheelin.

Mr Jason Bennett of Blue Ball, Co Offaly and Mr Thomas McCarthy of Arden View Tullamore, Co Offaly were prosecuted for trolling - where a fishing line is drawn through the water behind a boat - outside of the permitted season.

Separately, Mr 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), or fine, of €150 for illegal trolling on Lough Sheelin.

Lough Sheelin, bordering counties Cavan, Meath, and Westmeath, attracts anglers nationwide and internationally, and is a famed wild brown trout lake.

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 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.

trout lough sheelin

Brown trout caught and released at Lough Sheelin

It is illegal to troll on Lough Sheelin between March 1st and June 16th, and the ban was introduced to help conserve fish stocks.

Mullingar District Court heard how Mr Bennett and Mr McCarthy were offered the opportunity to pay a FCPN of €150 - issued in lieu of court proceedings - 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 3rd 2023.

A fine €500 was imposed on both defendants, with costs of €1,053 also charged to each man, in court on January 26th 2024. A third conviction was secured at Cavan District Court on February 2nd 2024 where Mr Marius Sarauskas was convicted of obstructing fishery officers at Kilnahard, Co Cavan.

IFI officers were attempting to issue him with a FCPN for illegal trolling on Lough Sheelin - on May 13th 2023.

He was fined €400, and must also pay €1,642 toward the costs of the case.