Irish angler uses Magna Carta on English landowner

Irish angler uses Magna Carta on landowner
By Tom Peterkin, Ireland Correspondent
The Telegraph

Magna Carta, dating from 1215 and signed by King John, is a part of Britain's "unwritten"

The Duke of Devonshire's ownership of Ireland's most prolific salmon river is to be challenged by an angler in a landmark court case that evokes the historic tensions between the English aristocracy and the Irish.

County Cork, with County Waterford to the east

Michael O'Shea will cite the 1215 Magna Carta signed by King John to argue that he has the right to fish the Blackwater as he attempts to overturn a poaching conviction.

His case will question the Devonshires' entitlement to the river, which is on the border of Co Cork and Co Waterford.

The dispute will come to a climax at the end of this month when the case is heard in the Waterford Circuit Court, 40 miles from the Duke of Devonshire's fairytale Irish residence, Lismore Castle, which has been in the family since 1753.

Lismore Castle, owned by the 12th Duke of Devonshire

The castle serves as a retreat for the Devonshires when they are not at the 175-room Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Their long association with Ireland has survived hostility towards the English ruling classes from Irish nationalists.

Mr O'Shea of Dungarvan, Co Waterford, a former Waterford Crystal glass cutter, was fined 35 in 2005. He had fished the same beat for 30 years but it was discovered that he was no longer a member of the local fishing association and did not have a visitor's permit.

The Magna Carta, which also applies in Ireland, gave the public the right to fish on large tidal rivers such as the Blackwater that were not under private ownership by the time it was signed.

Paddy Gordon, Mr O'Shea's lawyer, said: "Exercising dominion over tidal waters is unacceptable and that's our main gripe."
Libra Girl
His Lawyer, Paddy Gordon has a very pertinent point, but I wouldn't bet on Mr O'Shea's winning the case... after all, if he hadn't been caught without a licence, would the case even be in the legal system...
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