Press Release

IFI welcomes prosecution against Uisce Éireann for fish kill

  • Uisce Éireann to pay over €7,000 for pollution incident
Discoloured water from pollution

Discharge evident in Ballinagh River

Inland Fisheries Ireland has secured a prosecution against Uisce Éireann for pollution of the  Ballinagh River in Cavan in which 160 fish died.

Sample results taken from the water near the Uisce Éireann wastewater treatment plant at Ballinagh, showed high levels of ammonia – 32 times greater than expected in good salmon or trout waters.

This was the third prosecution against Uisce Éireann at this plant in Ballinagh since 2015. 

A fine of €4,000, plus costs and expenses of €3079, was imposed at a hearing on the matter at Cavan District Court on October 6th 2023.

Sample image of trout killed in the incident in Cavan in July 2022

Sample image of trout killed in the incident in Cavan in July 2022

Commenting after the verdict Dr Milton Matthews, Director of IFI’s North-Western River Basin District said: “Approximately 160 fish, predominantly brown trout, perished in this incident, and that number also included some stickleback and minnow.

“High levels of ammonia in a watercourse are toxic for fish. Fish kill events such as these are extreme ecological events. 

“They can have a severe and prolonged impact on native fish stocks due to the loss of locally- adapted, genetically-distinct, fish populations, which may take many years to recover.

“We welcome further engagement with Uisce Éireann. This will ensure that regular visual inspections of wastewater facilities and discharge points, are conducted to minimise the risk of such pollution events reoccurring.”

“This is especially important at times of high temperatures and low water flow.”

Pipe and discharge emanating from the wastewater plant

Pipe and discharge emanating from the wastewater plant 

IFI personnel were alerted to a fish kill on the Ballinagh River on July 19th 2022. 

An investigation was carried immediately, and samples were taken for analysis by IFI senior environmental officer, Ailish Keane.

The results indicated the pollution source was direct discharge from an effluent pipe at Uisce Éireann’s wastewater treatment plant at Ballinagh.

The conviction was secured under Section 171 of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959 – legislation regarding protection of fishing waters from harmful pollutants.

Members of the public are encouraged to report instances of water pollution, illegal fishing or fish kills to Inland Fisheries Ireland’s confidential number, 0818 34 74 24.

For original statement on this incident see: