PAC's Call To New Devolved Government

We want answers. And we want action to protect our waters.

That's the message pike anglers in Northern Ireland are sending out to the province's newly-enshrined devolved government today, as they step up their campaign to save Lough Beg.

The massive oil spill which polluted the Co Londonderry nature reserve two weeks ago is the latest in a series of incidents on the water.

Now Pike Anglers Club members are meeting the Countryside Alliance and Friends of the Earth for talks as they compile a dossier to lobby ministers.

"There's been this attitude that no-one's answerable to anyone over here," PAC regional organiser Gordon Nesbitt said. "We're stunned this could happen to such a special water.

"Lough Beg is an SSSI, whose shores are also home to rare species of plants and a diverse range of waterfowl. We are determined to see it accorded the respect it deserves."

Pike anglers regard Beg as an important water in the Lower Bann system - as well as an internationally-renowned nature reserve.

PAC president Phil Wakeford said: "We totally support the principle of the polluter pays. Whoever caused this mess should be prosecuted, made to clear up after themselves and make good any damage."

The dossier compiled by PAC members will be sent to ministers, as the club lobbies for those who have polluted Beg to be prosecuted and for the lake's internationally-important habitats to be protected.