HomeNewsInland Fisheries Ireland Stinking Fishy Business Funding a Nonexistent Club

Inland Fisheries Ireland Stinking Fishy Business Funding a Nonexistent Club

Episode 1

‘Inland Fisheries Ireland’ (I.F.I.) seems to be a very fishy outfit in more senses than one. For example it funded an angling club that never existed so where did the allocated funds go to or to whom? The IFI a State funded board also had a fleet of uninsured vehicles on the road which only came to light when one of them crashed. Where did the insurance money go to?

An IFI owned lavish historic country home was secretly leased to an employee without any financial records of the transaction taking place. The employee then allegedly run it as a B & B but it was in fact openly running as a fully functioning top class hotel. Did nobody in IFI notice a fully functioning hotel? No records of the transaction exist. The enterprising staff member who leased the property and knew a thing or two about running a successful hotel enterprise is still employed by the IFI. A dossier, marked ‘private and confidential’, says that the board member in question was ‘extremely concerned’ by evidence obtained by the IFI board.

More Shenanigans

The board also discovered ‘inappropriate disbursal of dormant account funds’ intended for projects that helped people with special needs or disabilities. There was also the instance an ‘allocation of funding to an angling club which did not exist’. Funding of a sum believed to be less than €10,000 was paid to another angling club on behalf of this nonexistent angling club. The Sligo angling club ‘did not have a bank account’ and appears to have been hastily set up for the sole purpose of applying for IFI funding.  According to a board member there was an ‘acceptance last year that protection crews in certain coastal areas did not do any work’.

Nothing to add or Couldn’t Add

A tight lipped IFI spokeswoman said that as the department had responded, the IFI had nothing to add. Nobody pressed her on the matter. Where is the accountability? Are other government funded Boards so cavalier and corrupt with taxpayer’s money?

The Smell of Stinking fish

To summarise, the following is just some of what went on in ‘Inland Fisheries Ireland.

  • The I.F.I. Board funded an angling club that never existed.
  • The IFI had a fleet of uninsured vehicles on the road.
  • An IFI leased a lavish historic home to an employee with no financial record who ran it allegedly as a B&B but it was in fact openly running as a fully functioning top class hotel.
  • Funds intended for projects that helped people with special needs or disabilities were inappropriately used.
  • Funds were allocated to an angling club that didn’t exist.
  • Funding of less than €10,000 was paid to another angling club on behalf of the nonexistent angling club.
  • The Sligo angling club ‘did not have a bank account’ and appeared to have been set up for the sole purpose of applying for IFI funding.
  • Last year protection crews in certain coastal areas did not do any work.

The IFI website says: “Our board of directors is charged with providing strategic leadership and oversight of the organisation.” The above is an example of their strategic leadership and oversight. Where does the book stop? IFI has a Board of 10 directors appointed by Ministers responsible for natural resources (three positions), the Minister responsible for rural affairs (one position) and by a Joint Oireachtas Committee (four positions). The remaining two positions are occupied by the Chief Executive Officer (ex-officio) and elected staff nomine. “The Board has established a standing Audit and Risk Committee to oversee our key areas of financial and risk management.”

The board members are:

Fintan Gorman, Chair
Bernadette Orbinski-Burke
Seamus Boland
Michael McGreal
Marie Louise Heffernan
Fiona Walsh
Seán Coady, Staff Nominee
Prof Frances Lucy
Mr Patrick Gibbons

Aspirations Not Met

The Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland adheres to the framework of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies 2016 (the Code) in its application of best practice, taking account of developments in respect of oversight, reporting requirements and the appointment of Board members. The Code is based on the underlying principles of good governance: accountability, transparency, probity and a focus on the sustainable success of the organization over the longer term. The Board ensures that the organization adheres to the Public Spending Code in its procurement practices.”

The Fish Hits the Fan

The Irish Daily Mail has acquired a dossier of those and other claims by a board member of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) which in the last week was also sent to Environment Minister Eamon Ryan. Ryan quickly appointed a senior council to review IFI governance and activities after the dossier indicated to the minister that “the functions of Inland Fisheries Ireland are not being performed in an effective manner”. Wasn’t there possible criminality involved? Why weren’t the Gardaí invited to investigate the alleged irregularities financial and otherwise?

A Cosy Little Arrangement

There was a cosy little internal leasing arrangement of Aasleagh Lodge an IFI property by the scenic Killary Harbour to a staff member who then used it as a fully functioning hotel without any transparency or financial accounts. In a parliamentary question in May 2018, Mr Sean Kyne, the then Minister of State at the Department of Environment, said that the department had agreed with the IFI’s intention to sell the property at that time. This did not happen. A lease was then put in place and the property was advertised as a “guest house” on several rental websites.

The Hotel That Never Existed

Aasleagh Lodge was operating in full swing as a fully functioning hotel in 2016 with top hotel rates. This is how Aasleagh Lodge was presented as Aasleagh Lodge Country House Hotel in Leenane. This was no mere B&B enterprise.

Aasleagh Lodge is a beautifully restored Victorian Country House in Leenane, Connemara situated beside Aasleagh Falls overlooking Killary Fjord.

Idyllically situated beside Aasleagh Falls, Aasleagh Lodge is a beautifully restored 19th century Victorian Country House Hotel in Leenane, best known as one of the great fishing houses of Ireland, with its unique location beside one of the finest spate rivers in Ireland. The lodge consists of 9 spacious and comfortable bedrooms, and was part of the estate of the Marquis of Sligo. The Lodge also has two adjacent self-catering cottages, just a short walk from the main building.

The lodge is set in 36 acres of mature woodlands with magnificent views over Killary Harbour and is surrounded by the beautiful mountain ranges of the Western Way. A short walk through the grounds brings you to the famous Aasleagh Falls, an internationally famous waterfall on the Erriff River. The Lodge is a perfect base for exploring the sights of Connemara on bicycle, with Kylemore Abbey and the Connemara National Park just a short journey away.

With quiet surroundings and luxurious bedrooms, you are assured of a good night’s sleep in comfort and tranquillity. Aasleagh Lodge and its self-catering Cottages are the perfect base for a true west of Ireland getaway.

Facebook. September 2016.

September Deal – 2 nights B&B in Aasleagh Lodge with 1 evening meal and a full day of fishing on the Erriff from only €189 pps this September! Call us on 095 42252 or book direct on our website! (2016 on Facebook)

Facebook. September 2016.

Fancy a new food experience or a gourmet night away or? ‘A Killary Food and Wine Appreciation Event’ takes place at Aasleagh Lodge on Fri, Oct 14th with Anthony Tindal of Tindal Wine Merchants and all are welcome! Ideal for food and wine lovers, you will spend an evening in this peaceful part of Connemara relaxing, overlooking Killary Fjord and enjoying:

-> Drinks and canapés reception in the lounge at Aasleagh Lodge
-> 5 Course Dinner in the dining room
-> 5 glasses of wine – one with each course
-> Event will be hosted by Anthony Tindal of Tindal Wine Merchants

All for €95 per person, from 7pm.

PLUS! There is a 20% discount on 4* accommodation at Aasleagh Lodge on Friday, October 14th. Enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep, a full Irish breakfast the next morning plus receive a complimentary hour in the nearby Delphi Spa’s Thermal Suite overlooking Mweelrea!

To book or for more info, click below or contact us on 095-42208.

Goodbye and Thanks for all the Cash

Aasleagh Lodge was abruptly closed down in 2017 with no explanation. Now we know why.

Aasleagh Lodge

26 April 2017

We regret to announce that Aasleagh Lodge is closed and will not reopen in 2017. The river is open for fishing, however, and we will be taking bookings for fishing. To make an enquiry about fishing, please email Erriff.fishery@fisheriesireland.ie. We apologise for the inconvenience, especially to our long-standing annual visitors, but we hope we will see some of you on the river this year. A list of nearby accommodation can be found at http://www.ireland.com/…/republic…/galway/leenane/all…

Aasleagh Lodge is still up on the Trivago booking website but has no dates available. It is also still advertised on LetsBookHotels.com but any attempt to book receives the following message. Sorry, this hotel has no rooms available for the dates of your stay. Please Change Dates and try again or Click here to see available accommodation in this area.


  1. The banning of the Irish eel fisheries is another scandal … no other European nation followed the example of the IFI

  2. Isn’t it funny Sean canie was the minister with responsibility for Inland Fisheries Ireland.
    He was more interested in having pike slaughtered in the lakes than protection of fish unless it was Trout or salmon.
    IfI has utterly failed as a state buddy,it should be replaced with an organisation who will Farley protect all fish & support angling clubs & initiatives around the country that really exists.


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