Published: Thursday, 17th October, 2013 3:51pm
Following the decapitation of over 20 ducks at Edenderry harbour, reported in the Offaly Independent last week, a local angler has expressed concern about anti-social behaviour in the area and says he and two friends were threatened with a crossbow.
The local Edenderry angler has spoken out this week about fish killings in the same area and said the area is not as family-friendly as it once was, with intimidation rife at the picturesque spot.
Pauric Kelly of Edenderry Coarse Angling Club added that should the anti-social behaviour continue at the beauty spot, the Edenderry Three Day Canal Festival, one of the largest angling festivals in Ireland, which celebrated 25 years last June, is in danger of folding.
Children’s competitions held as part of the angling festival are usually held at the harbour in Edenderry, but Pauric said this year those competitions had to be cancelled as festival stewards were afraid.
“The harbour at the moment is a warzone,” Pauric said. “You cannot walk it now,” he added, describing incidents of stones being thrown at anglers in the area, and worse.
“Five weeks ago at 8.15pm on a Tuesday night myself and two others were threatened with a crossbow, then we were threatened with baseball bats,” he said.
Pauric added that while most local anglers abide by catch-and-release rules, up to 1,000 fish are being killed every week. He said he and his colleagues were threatened after pulling someone up on killing fish the previous evening. Pauric said he fears a more serious incident happening if canal-side behaviour is not taken in hand.
Sergeant Kevin Quinn of Edenderry Garda Station said no complaints have been lodged regarding behaviour at the harbour, but encouraged anyone who witnesses or encounters anything untoward to contact them.
Information is also still being sought on incidents of duck decapitation, which have taken place over recent weeks. The be-headings have led to stock numbers of approximately 40 mallards and farm ducks more than halved.
Ducks were originally introduced to Edenderry harbour by the local Tidy Towns group. Since last week’s grim news the group has had some cause for happiness however. On reading about the duck deaths, secretary of Offaly Regional Game Council Conor Mooney got in touch with Tidy Towns chairman Noel Cribbin and the council is now to replenish stock numbers like for like through the local gun club.
Speaking to the Offaly Independent Conor said he was moved to make the gesture after a similar issue when ducks started going missing in Birr four years ago.
“Those ducks are there for all of the community,” Conor said. “It’s an amenity for the town. We need to get these ducks back on the water and not let these vandals win.”
Conor said the local gun club also plans to keep an eye on the new ducks once they are delivered to their new home.