A LARGE proportion of convicted poachers over recent years came from the Carrigans, St Johnston, Lifford and Clady areas, the Loughs Agency Director of Conservation John McCartney has revealed.
Mr McCartney revealed the higher-than-normal concentration of poachers in that area during an evidence session with the Stormont Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
He stated: “If you think about the geography of the rivers system, Lough Foyle goes into the River Foyle, which narrows and splits between the River Mourne and the River Finn at Lifford Bridge - basically on the Strabane/Lifford border.
“Unfortunately, a larger proportion of our convicted poachers seem to come from the Lifford, Carrigans, St Johnston and Clady areas, which are under the Southern jurisdiction.
“That means that, even though those people may be caught on the lower end of the River Mourne at Strabane, they are still prosecuted at Letterkenny court because of the domicile rule. That is just the way that the system has worked.
“Some cases have obviously gone through Strabane court, given the number of Strabane people that have been caught, but the majority of the difficulty that we had, particularly last year, was in the area of Lifford.”