Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn surprised the SFPA at the Joint Committee on Fisheries when he informed them that Ireland was the most compliant state in the EU
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority was before the Joint Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries today to answer questions on the weighing-on-landing debacle in Killybegs.
SFPA chief executive, Pascal Hayes opened the meeting explaining the history of how the industry arrived at the current situation of the interim control plan which has been at the centre of the controversy, when two fish processing factories lost their in-factory weighing permits by taking blue whiting over the border from Derry to Killybegs for processing, after the master of the vessel was targeted twice by the SFPA for dry weighing.
In a 30-minute opening statement Mr Hayes said, “The SFPA confirms that there has been no change in the fish weighing on landing arrangements between the Republic of Ireland and other jurisdictions as a result of Brexit under the EU regulations…
He said that the only way in which fishery products might be weighed following a landing in Northern Ireland would be through a common control program between the UK and Ireland approved by the EU Commission.
Mr Hayes stated, “It is important to reiterate no such common control program has ever existed, either before or after Brexit. Therefore, landings to Northern Ireland are treated similarly to landings in any EU state with which Ireland does not have a common control program. Irish operators may choose to purchase fish landed to a jurisdiction with which Ireland does not share an approved common control program, such as Northern Ireland. In such cases, the weighing must have taken place in the landing jurisdiction, either through the default of immediately at landing, or perhaps at a permitted post transport establishment in that landing territory. If a control plan exists there.”
After the controversy of the statement made in relation to fish processors, Michael Collins, Independent TD for South-West Cork, who had campaigned to bring the SFPA in front of the Joint Committee, took the floor.
Deputy Collins was followed by Sinn Féin Deputy, Pearse Doherty, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries, Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn, Independent TD, Thomas Pringle, Ind, and Seán Sherlock, the Labour TD for Cork East.
Attending for the SFPA along with Executive Cahir Paschal Hayes was Olive Loughnane, Director of Transformation and Dr Michéal O’Mahony, Chief Scientific Officer.
Some of the questions and answers can be found below in audio form.
Deputy Michael Collins, Ind
Deputy Pearse Doherty, SF
Deputy Padraig Mac Lochlainn, SF
Deputy Thomas Pringle, Ind
Deputy Séan Sherlock, Labour
Unfortuately at the time of recording there was some lag on the internet connection. We apologise for any gaps in the recordings,