Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Drift Net Licence.

19.

asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries if he is aware that a person (name supplied) in Kilrush, County Clare was refused a drift net licence because he had not paid a fine for illegal fishing; and if he will now direct that a licence be issued as the person concerned has since paid the fine.

I have ascertained from the Limerick Board of Conservators that as they have already issued 70 drift net licences, which is the maximum number permitted by law to be issued in respect of the Shannon Estuary, they are not in a position to grant a licence for 1974 to the person referred to by the Deputy.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary in a position to say if this particular man had an appeal before his Department for mitigation of this fine and, because of this, he was deprived of a licence and has now no livelihood? This man has lost his licence because he did not have the fine paid.

My information is that this man was refused a licence for the 1974 season. I assume he was refused because of a conviction for illegal fishing at Kilrush on 27th November, 1973; he was fined a total of £80 and his gear was forfeited to the board. I assume the board determined he was not a suitable applicant for 1974 in view of his being fined for illegal fishing in November last. I also understand the fine has not so far been paid.

This man has paid the fine. I know he has paid it and I think the Parliamentary Secretary knows that too because he met him yesterday.

My information is that he has not paid the fine.

May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary, in addition to the laws that enable fines to be imposed and gear confiscated——

I am afraid the Deputy is broadening the scope of the question. The question refers to a specific matter.

I am referring to a specific matter also. In addition to the laws enabling fines to be imposed and gear confiscated, is there any section or subsection which enables the board, the Minister or the Government to penalise a man to the extent that he loses his entire livelihood?

That is a matter for the discretion of the board.