Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Questions (362)

Ciara Conway

Question:

362. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is satisfied with the current make-up of the Inland Fisheries Ireland board, which, currently, contains no representative to voice the concerns of commercial fishermen and coastal communities; if he will commit to a review membership of the board to include representation of interests of commercial fishermen and coastal communities; if he is satisfied with the level of engagement with commercial fishermen and coastal communities by the IFI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24386/14]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The principal functions of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) are set out at Section 7 (1) of the Inland Fisheries Act 2010, which are the protection, management and conservation of the inland fisheries resource. The Act, in defining the membership of IFI provides that the persons to be appointed shall have experience or capacity in one or more areas defined in the Act; and that they shall be appointed with a view to representing the public interest. The current Board membership was appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Inland Fisheries Act 2010. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources appoints members as follows: 3, including the Chairperson, on his own nomination; 1 nominated by the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government; 1 nominated by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs; and 3 nominated following advice received from the relevant Oireachtas Joint Committee. The Joint Committee, through the Public Appointments Service, sought expressions of interest for the three positions from individuals who had recognised expertise or a track record in one or more of the areas set out in the Act.

The Act also provides that one Board member is appointed following election by the staff of IFI and that the Chief Executive Officer shall be an ex-officio member of the Board.

While the board is appointed to act in the public interest, the Deputy will be aware that the National Inland Fisheries Forum has been established in accordance with Section 7 (4) of the Act, which makes specific provision for stakeholder input to policy formulation. The Forum includes a broad spectrum of stakeholders with knowledge or expertise in a number of key sectors including commercial fisheries. The 60 members of the Forum were appointed following an open selection process conducted by the Public Appointments Service.

The Forum is designed to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to contribute to management and development policies and is a valuable channel of communication between the stakeholders and management in this regard.

Questions Nos. 363 and 364 answered with Question No. 358.