Omagh Anglers Association and the River Camowen

On behalf of Omagh Anglers Association I have been asked as Secretary to confirm that
Omagh Anglers still continues to hold the lease for the fishing rights on a
substantial section of the River Camowen and its tributaries. This water has been with the
club from the early days in the late 1940s and when the Belmore Estate was
purchased by the Rountree family in 1964 the lease was formally extended.

This water has had a substantial amount of money invested in it over the years as a result of a programme of continous improvement and over £70,000 was spent in 2005 for enhancement work and improved nursery streams. Investment is ongoing with permission as we are mindful of the need to have landowners permission to undertake work on private property. As two members of the club are currently also members of the Strule Trust this investment will continue in the years to come through the release of funding for river enhancement projects within the Strule tributaries.

I have talked recently to both Joe Owens and Seamus Ward in their roles as ‘spokespersons’
for the Camowen Community Anglers. I have received no formal confirmation of their roles within the club structure. Unfortunately I have been unable to talk to any other office bearers within the club as they have not made themselves known to me.

On separate occasions when talking to both Joe and Seamus  I have confirmed that Omagh Anglers Association have a long term lease on the Belmore Estate which allows us legal access to the fishing rights. They have stated that the landowners have given written permission to access the land but when
asked about the fishing rights they declined to discuss this aspect of the matter further.

A complaint was raised against the club that we have neglected this water. It is important to answer this complaint. We have put up stiles and step overs where the landowners gave us permission
and we did not encroach upon land where we were asked not to.  We have at no time removed another club’s signs or put up signs on water where we had no rights. Seamus Ward stated to me that the new club had full permission to put stiles on all fences and OA club expressed a willingness to work on this together if additional permissions had now been secured. This offer was turned down instantly without any consultation with the other officers of the new club. Joe Owens also stated that the new fishing
club would only be for people in that locality in the first instance.

The lease we have signed and the actual fishing rights document are available for viewing by all interested parties by making an appointment with Richard Rountree. He can be contacted at: John W Pinkerton and Son, Solicitors, 5 Linenhall Street, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim BT53 6DP. This information has been furnished to both Joe Owens and Seamus Ward directly as representatives of the Camowen Community Angling Association. The fishing rights can also be accessed at the Registry of Deeds. These documents have both historical and legal significance. The validity of this agreement is recognized by the Registry of Deeds Northern Ireland.  Omagh Anglers Association pay rent to the landlord who continues to hold the fishing rights. Any further levy on members by way of an additional fee would result in members paying twice to fish the same piece of water. Our primary objective is to secure and protect these spawning grounds for the benefit of all members. We will endeavour to keep our members informed of all relevant developments with regards to this matter as the situation moves forward.

Honorary Secretary

Terry Smithson