Northern Ireland news

Major fish kill following suspected slurry spill

Dead fish along Torrent River, Picture by SDLP Councillor Malachy Quinn
Matt Fox

THOUSANDS of fish have been killed at a Co Tyrone river following a suspected slurry spill.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has started a joint investigation with the Inland Fisheries.

The spillage occurred along the Torrent River on Sunday with images on social media showing dead fish along the riverbank. It is believed that a stretch of over 7km has been impacted.

Locals claim that this is the third such incident in the last two months. SDLP Mid Ulster councillor for the area, Malachy Quinn, said that the Environment Agency told him that the river may be “dead at this point.”

Writing on social media, Mr Quinn said: "[Thousands] of fish killed at the Coalisland Canal/Torrent River. The knock on effect will have a devastating impact on the local wildlife which has taken years to build up. Kingfishers, otters, insects which may now not return."

A DAERA spokesperson said: “At 10:10hrs on Sunday 19 June 2022, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) received a water pollution report indicating that there had been a significant slurry spillage to the Torrent River, Newmills, Co Tyrone approx. 5km North East of Dungannon.

"NIEA immediately deployed a Water Quality Inspector to the area to confirm the report and assess the environmental impact, a joint investigation with DAERA Inland Fisheries is underway.

"The source has been identified and NIEA are currently working with the premises involved to identify what further measures can be employed to mitigate the impact of the spillage on the Torrent River.”

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