Debate on the protection of Lough Neagh

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ON Saturday, May 4 1872 at twelve o’clock a public meeting of a committee appointed at the last half-yearly meeting of the Board of Conservators for the district of Coleraine was held in the Court House, Toomebridge, Co Londonderry, for the purpose of “considering the best means to be adopted for protecting and preserving the fisheries” of Lough Neagh, the River Bann and their tributaries, reported the News Letter during this week in 1872.

The members present were Thomas Hamilton-Jones, Esq, DL, JP, Moneyglass House, Toomebridge, chairman, Captain A Moore Armstrong, JP, Culmore House, Kilrea, Mr Robert Jamieson, Portna and Movanagher, Kilrea, Mr John Colgan, Springfield, Belfast. There were also present Mr Samuel Delcacherois Crommelin, Esq, JP, Carrowdore Castle, Donaghadee, Co Down, Mr Charles E McClintock, Esq, JP, Glendarragh, Crumlin and Mr Hannah, assistant-agent to Lord Donegall.

After a good deal of conversation respecting the object of the meeting, it was proposed by Captain A M Armstrong, seconded by Mr Robert Jamieson, and unanimously agreed: “That an application from the Board of Conservators be forwarded immediately to His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant [The Earl Spencer] for an additional police force to preserve the peace and protect the inspectors, deputy-inspectors and water bailiffs in the discharge of their arduous duties in protecting and preserving the fisheries of Lough Neagh, the River Bann and their tributaries.”

Mr Crommelin then stated that the lease granted to Sir George Hill by the late Marquis of Donegall, in the year 1811, had terminated on May 1, 1872 and that he (Mr Crommelin) had become “absolutely and solely” entitled, under a fee-farm grant from Lord Donegall, to “all salmon, trout, pollen, and scale fishing” of Lough Neagh with “full power of going to the banks of the lough and every part thereof, and of laying thereon nets and other necessary implements for fishing”.

Mr Crommelin added that under these circumstances that he would be “quite willing” to co-operate with the Board of Conservators in “carrying out the object of the present meeting”, namely “protecting and preserving the fisheries of Lough Neagh and its tributaries.

Mr Hannah, assistant-general to Lord Donegall, stated that His Lordship would also co-operate with the Board of Conservators and Mr Crommelin in carrying out the object they had in view, the protection and preservation of Lough Neagh, the River Bann and their tributaries.

The chairman of the meeting, Mr Thomas Hamilton-Jones, Esq, DL, JP, Moneyglass House, then intimitated that he would make the necessary application to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland for the additional police force with “the least possible delay”.

Meanwhile, also in the news this week in 1872 was the story of a lucky farmer from the town of Boyle in Co Roscommon near the property of a Colonel Tennison. The farmer had been engaged in cutting turf when he came across a bag which proved to be filled with silver coins dating from the years between 1566 and 1572 and therefore more than three hundred years old.

The bag, it was reported, weighed about 28lbs.