Loughs Agency needs to make 12% savings

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The Londonderry headquartered Loughs Agency is being asked to contribute to annual efficiency savings of four per cent being imposed on the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission over the next two years.

The Loughs Agency, responsible for the management and conservation of waterways on both sides of the border, comprises one half of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission, which is being asked to make cumulative cuts of 12 per cent by 2016.

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) MLA Jim Allister asked the Fisheries Minister Michelle O’Neill about the cuts required of the cross-border body.

She replied: “In accordance with agreed guidance issued by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (Loughs Agency) is required to make efficiency savings of four per cent for each year of its’ 2014-2016 Corporate Plan cumulating in overall savings of 12 per cent up to 2016.”

The Agency’s official role is “to promote the development of the Loughs.”

However, the Agency says it does not see this function in the narrow sense of promotion by means of publicity and information alone. It says it regards its duty to promote the development of the Loughs as falling into a wider definition of being responsible for advancing the development of the Loughs and being the body required by statute to arrange that advancement by whatever means are appropriate and effective.

The governing legislation confers the following specific functions on the Agency: the promotion of development of Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough for commercial and recreational purposes in respect of marine, fishery and aquaculture matters; the management, conservation, protection, improvement and development of the inland fisheries of the Foyle and Carlingford Areas; the development and licensing of aquaculture; and the development of marine tourism.