An AGM of the Clady Anglers Club (CAC) ended in disarray after several members of the clubs board walked out at the Bunbeg meeting this week.
The meeting had been called to discuss the application by the club for their status to be recognised by the fisheries board, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI).
The dispute centred on the arrival of up to a dozen people claiming to be new members of the club as well as a number of “un-invited” observers.
Former club chairman and current assistant treasurer Seamus Gallagher from Dunlewey said the group of eleven who attended the meeting were fully paid up new members of the club.
“Its all to do with numbers and they wanted to hand it over the fisheries board at the AGM. If this thing goes through we will be paying a hefty price. Its €35 to the fisheries board out of the €40 every year. Thats not what you call co-operation,” Seamus said.
He claims it is true that the ESB who previously owed the fishing and boating rights on Dunlewey Lakes and Clady river had a long standing agreement with the local angling club that they would not sign over these rights without negotiations, but he now claims this has been “totally disregarded” without proper consultation.
He said they also argued a proposal for a fisheries manager for the water courses should be a local person.
“That is what we’re after” says Seamus Gallagher “accountability”.
“Members of CAC want to negotiate the deal with the IFI to get a better deal for the local community. We want our voices to be heard and our rights to be upheld, we don’t want the sell out that happened to the rest of the country to happen here,” he added.
Secretary of the club, Vincent Breslin, who was one of the board who walked out of the meeting said the process of adding new members to the club was not properly followed and were a “rent a crowd” intent on rejecting the document proposed by the IFI.
He said he informed all club members of the meeting ten days previously and the eleven “new members” had not been a part of the club prior to that night or had been accepted as members by the committee.
“The club has been here for the last five years and we have been in negotiations, initially, with the Northern Regional Fisheries Board. This had been going on and on and we are trying to get a club officially recognised by the fisheries board. The river is owned by the ESB so we in Gweedore said ‘Ok, lets try and get a joint management of local people with the fisheries board for the good of the community and the good of the river’. For year and years it has been ripped clean, poached, I mean just an open season and it has been absolutely dreadful,” He stated.
He added: “We, local people, set up this club on the Clady. We have about 40 members and hold regular meetings with the fisheries board and we have our own meetings trying to forward this. We tried to come up with an agreed agenda that both we and the fisheries board could buy into.”
He said the group of people claiming new membership were in attendance to reject the legal document proposed by the IFI on the membership status.