River Clodiagh 'chemical leak' kills thousands of fish
Thousands of trout and salmon and other fish species have been killed in a pollution spill.
Five kilometres of the River Clodiagh, a tributary of the Tullamore river in Co Offaly and popular with local anglers, have been devastated in a suspected chemical leak.
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) said it is following a definite line of inquiry and it may take a considerable number of years for the river to recover.
The 3,700 fish deaths, mainly trout but also salmon, lamprey, minnow and stoneloach, suggested the Clodiagh is believed to have recovered from a previous pollution spill which is believed to have been caused by fertilisers.
Water and sludge samples have been taken with a view to a possible prosecution, the IFI said.
Agency director Amanda Mooney said: "This pollution discharge has been a devastating blow to the River Clodiagh.
"The quantities of fish present would indicate that the river had recovered considerably in recent years from a previous eutrophication state, with excellent salmonid spawning and nursery habitat.
Separately, Alma Hygiene Ltd was last month hit with a fine, legal fees and mitigation costs totalling more than 45,000 euro over a chemical spill on the Tolka in Dublin in July last year that killed more than 5,000 fish.
Most of the fish kill on the Clodiagh is believed to have started around the Clonaslee area in northern Laois with farming not believed to have been responsible for the pollution.
Prior to the incident the river was said to hold fair stocks of wild brown trout weighing anything from 0.75 to 2lbs.