Reprieve at Aughrim

 

ANGLING NOTES:THE BREAKING news that the award-winning National Disabled Angling Facility in Aughrim, Co Wicklow, is to remain open will come as a great relief to many people. Opened by President Mary Robinson in 1996, it is a fantastic amenity for thousands of fisher folk, including many with disabilities.

In a topsy-turvy week when the facility was staring at the prospect of closure and the loss of 23 jobs, an 11th-hour agreement was reached last Friday between the Dept of Social Protection (Fás), Siptu and staff, to retain all jobs and keep the premises open until the findings of a “review” are published in late March.

Aughrim facility supervisor Barry Moules, said: “With just 10 minutes to go before the gates were due to close for the last time at 4pm on Friday, we struck a deal to accept a 25 per cent cut in day-to-day running costs instead of the proposed 66 per cent. This means, in effect, we can keep going until March.” Who knows what might happen at that time, he said with optimism.

I was there for the turning of the first sod after the bulldozers and JCB’s created the four-acre rainbow trout lake from virtual wasteland. Special attention was paid to wheelchair accessibility and safety barriers.

Your correspondent was there when 160 anglers with disabilities from all over Ireland participated in a competition sponsored by Bank of Ireland. Each county was represented by five anglers who competed in numerous heats throughout the summer, culminating in a grand final in which Tipperary won the overall event.

I was there over each of the past six years to witness the annual youth competitions organised by Dublin Angling Initiative at which more than 50 teenagers from inner-city youth centres enjoyed a fantastic day of fishing, refreshments and prizes.

Today, the facility is run by Aughrim Tidy Towns as a Community Employment Fás scheme. It continues to play a vital role in Aughrim’s successes in winning numerous Tidy Town awards including the Overall National Tidy Town award in 2007.

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Revised salmon and sea trout rod licence books for 2012 are: Annual, €100; district, €56; juvenile, €10; 21-day, €40 and one day, €20.

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Fishing at Annamoe Trout Fishery in Co Wicklow continued at a steady pace due to the mild weather. “Our rainbows are attracted to whatever looks like a light snack such as bright coloured lures and bead-head long-shank nymphs,” according to proprietor Brian Nally.

The average number of trout landed over a four-hour session is four per angler, he said. Annamoe is open daily from 10am until dusk, except Wednesday (during winter months). Tel: 086-2598563.

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The Irish Angling Development Alliance (IADA) and Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), in association with Mara Media, will hold an invasive species identification and disinfection seminar at the Irish Angling Expo on February 11th-12th at Cloghran, Co Dublin.

“The practice of disinfection will go a long way towards preventing the introduction and spread of non-native species and pathogens that can potentially destroy our sport and environment,” a spokesperson for IADA said.

Anglers are invited to visit the IADA stand where Dr Joe Caffrey of IFI will answer questions.

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Loop Head Lighthouse will reopen to the public later this year following a successful trial scheme. Clare County Council, with support of Commissioners of Irish Lights, Shannon Development and Loop Head Tourism, opened the lighthouse last July and were delighted with the response, which attracted 17,000 people over an 11-week period.

The group is also seeking consultants to implement an exhibition and interpretation plan to further expand tourism at the 19th-century lighthouse. Visit loophead.iefor more information.


angling@irishtimes.com