McCartney queries ownership of seabed

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Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has written to the British Secretary of State Owen Paterson and Derry’s Port and Harbour Commission to ascertain ownership of the seabed of the River Foyle.

His call coincides with ongoing wrangling over ownership of the seabed of the River Foyle and the potential legal and financial implications this could have for a large number of organisations.

Assemblyman McCartney says: “Clearly, this is an issue that needs addressed.

“There is a lot of confusion over ownership of the seabed and the legal implications it has for government departments, both North and South, local Councils, the Gardaí, PSNI, fishermen and search and rescue organisations.

“My party colleague Pádraig MacLochlainn TD has contacted the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in the South, on the status of negotiations with the Crown Estate regarding ownership of the seabed of the River Foyle.

“I have subsequently written to the British Secretary State Owen Paterson and the Port and Harbour Commission to ascertain ownership of the seabed of the River Foyle.

“The Port and Harbour Commission is responsible for dredging the Foyle and I would like to know if a percentage of the material sold is paid to the Crown Estate.”

In recent weeks, the ownership of the seabed and waterline at Lough Foyle on the Derry-Donegal border has been questioned – with confusion about whether the area falls under the jurisdiction of the Irish Republic or the United Kingdom.