Junior Minister Fergus O'Dowd has defended the administration of oyster licenses on Lough Swilly following questions in the Dail from Donegal South West Deputy Thomas Pringle.
Deputy Pringle told the Dail that at present, oyster licenses are issued by Inland Fisheries Ireland, but there are no checks on whether applicants hold a commercial sea fishing licence, because that is administered by another agency, the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency.
Minister O'Dowd told the Dail that IFI would be acting outside its powers if it asked about other documentation, but Deputy Pringle said that response "defies belief"...........
Minister O'Dowd denied that there are major problems with the system, which he said is working well. However, he acknowledged that there are anomalies, and the government will look at the situation this year.
In the meantime, he said it's wrong to suggest that applicants for licences are not properly assessed.....