Keep your hands off our Lough, say fed-up Inishowen locals

first_imgClaims that Britain owns all of the rights to Lough Foyle have received a frostyreception from people in Inishowen.British Secretary of State James Brokenshire said this week that London owned the entire of Lough Foyle right up to the many Inishowen villages which border the water.The claim led to outcry by Donegal Senator Padraig Mac Lochlainn who accused the British Government of being arrogant as a result. But yesterday, as snow fell across coastal towns and villages dotted along the Peninsula, the reaction of locals was equally as cool.In Gillen’s Gala supermarket on Moville’s Main Street, owner PaddyGillen was busy stocking his vegetable aisle.Moville shop owner and former fisherman Paddy Gillen. (North West Newspix)His shop is just a couple of hundred yards from the local pier.Paddy says it’s a topic which rears its head every now and again buthe fears Brexit may bring a position where Britain is trying to claimthe rights to Lough Foyle once and for all. The one thing he never wants to see is a return to a hard border – onland or sea.He local fishermen get on well with their counterparts across theFoyle and work well with the Lough’s Agency.He said perhaps Britain should remain silent on the issue and allowthe fishermen who work the waters to work things out amongstthemselves.“There is an old saying which goes ‘The least said, the easiermending’ and I think it’s very true in this case.“I honestly don’t think the British Government need to be shoutingabout we own this and we own that. The shoreline around Lough Foylewill look after itself and the fishermen will work things out with theLoughs Agency because they have a good working relationship. “I fear that overall if they begin talking like this then it will onlytalk up a hard border and that’s the last thing we need again alongthe border.“That simply would be a disaster for everyone,” he said.Very few fishermen we tried to speak to will speak on record as theyhave traditionally tried to work with the Loughs Agency in NorthernIreland.One fisherman did point out “When you see a traditional map ofNorthern Ireland along with Britain, they never include the Lough aswell so why are they claiming it now?” The North’s First Minister Arlene Foster said nobody wanted a ‘hard’border across Lough Foyle and said it was important to find a solutionthat was agreeable to everyone.She was speaking at a meeting of the North South Ministerial Councilin Armagh yesterday.Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness quipped “Here, here Arlene. Nohard border on the land, no border on the sea.”Businessman Jim McLaughlin in nearby Muff owned one of the mostpopular bars on the Inishowen , Mary Deeneys.Jim said this is an issue which comes up from time to time.He feels that Brexit could yet pose a serious threat to thelivelihoods of Donegal fishermen who have fished Lough Foyle forgenerations.“My heart goes out to these men because theirs is a very hard livingand now this is hanging over them if Brexit happens.“I do feel it could be a major issue for them and the Irish Governmentneeds to stand up and be counted on this issue,” he said.One man who knows like Foyle like the back of his hands is the formerowner of the Lough Foyle Ferry, Jim McClenaghan.Former Foyle Ferry operator Jim McClenaghan in Greencastle on the banks of Lough Foyle. (North West Newspix)A former fisherman, Jim knows all too well the hardships facing thosemaking a living from the sea.He blames those in Government for once again stoking up the ownershipissue around Lough Foyle.He recalls being asked to pay for having to use the waters aroundLough Foyle by the British Government, a request he said he nevercomplied with.But he says race, religion or background do not matter to those outscratching a living from the sea around the North-West.“When I started fishing back in the 1970s a man took me aside and saidto me that religion or background should not matter because we are allequal out at sea.“If a mayday signal comes through then we are all equal and we shouldhelp eachother regardless of our nationality or background.“I think the Governments should work together and share the ownershipof the Lough and not to be claiming overall rights to it. Those whowant to work the Lough should be allowed to work with eachother and towork things out with eachother,” he said.Keep your hands off our Lough, say fed-up Inishowen locals was last modified: November 20th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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