Irish town, British duke battle over fish

March 10, 2007 at 4:29 PM

YOUGHAL, Ireland, March 10 (UPI) -- An Irish town and a British duke are battling over fishing rights on a river in southern Ireland.

Peregrine Andrew Morny Cavendish, the 12th Duke of Devonshire, argues that the fishing rights on the Blackwater in Cork are his by virtue of a grant by King James VI to his ancestor, the Earl of Cork, in 1613. But Oliver Casey, a member of the Youghal Town Council, says that four years earlier in 1609 the king granted the rights to the mayor of Youghal, The Independent reports.

Casey believes that regardless of the legal or historical merits of the duke's case he should recognize that times have changed.

"I can't understand how a person could own waters like this," he said. "I think the Duke should relinquish his rights."

Even the duke recognized in a recent interview that there is something incongruous about his owning a castle and fishing rights in the Irish Republic. But he does not plan to give up those rights.

Some local residents who tested the duke's claim a few years ago are appealing a conviction for trespass.

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