Government members and representatives from the Irish Fishing Industry met today to discuss the devastating impacts the EU/UK deal. Photo Oliver McBride

Government and representatives from the Irish Fishing Industry met to discuss the devastating impacts the EU/UK deal. Photo Oliver McBride

Following an urgent request made for an immediate meeting with Government from the Irish Fishing Industry to discuss the devastating impacts the EU/UK deal will cause to befall Ireland’s Costal fishing Communities in the aftermath of the signing of the Brexit agreement, the Minister with responsibility for the Marine Charlie Mc Conalogue organised a Webex for 1.30 pm earlier today Monday 28th December.

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney participated in the webex with Minister McConalogue

Minister McConalogue addressed the participants and gave an outline of why the meeting was organized and while stressing the importance of the conclusion to the EU / UK agreement to future Trade between the parties he admitted to the negative impacts the deal would have for Ireland’s Fishing Industry being, effectively, the sector taking the biggest hit in order to conclude the deal.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressed the participants and immediately acknowledged the detrimental impact this EU/ UK Deal would have on our Fishers and Coastal Communities.

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The Taoiseach pointed to the positives of the deal where access to UK fishing grounds is secured for the next 5 years and the benefits for our country in avoiding a ‘No-deal’.

The Taoiseach thanked the Industry for staying the course for the past four and a half years while acknowledging it was not easy and he gave his commitment to stand by us in the difficult times ahead.

He requested that we in the Industry submit our proposals and the policy choices open to us to pursue so that we may try to mitigate the devastating impacts on our coastal communities and businesses that will suffer damage or, may well be lost as a direct consequence of this extremely bad Fisheries deal for Ireland.

Minister Simon Coveney agreed with our Taoiseach adding that he felt the Irish South and West FPO’s concerns at the potential damage the displacement of hundreds of EU

Fishing Vessels into our Biologically Sensitive Area would have on Spawning stocks had been averted, at least for the next five years.

He also acknowledged the unequal burden-sharing foisted upon Ireland over and above our EU counterparts.

Each Industry representative was given plenty of time to speak and communicate our views to the Taoiseach and his Ministers. A common thread between us all was the unfair and disproportionate share our Irish Industry was now expected to bear in order to ensure a deal was agreed enabling continuing Trade between Europe and UK that would ensure continuing access to Markets while avoiding Tariffs

Our Industry agreed that the basis for the current Common Fishery Policy (CFP) is now so altered that the Rules governing how this resource is shared and allocated between the Fishing Nations of Europe are no longer applicable.

Following on from this undeniable fact, the Irish South and West believe the basis for the current CFP must be changed and changed utterly.

The European Union has chosen to adopt a concept known as “Zonal Attachment”1 to justify giving a 25% increase to British Fishers in the share-out of Fish within British Waters in the British Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). We ask that the same Rules be adopted to calculate the amount of Irish Fish we Irish Fishers be entitled to catch in our own Waters.

The Irish South and West FPO wish to thank Minister McConalogue for organising this meeting and we look forward to working with Taoiseach Michael Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister for Agriculture and Marine Charlie McConalogue to mitigate the acknowledged deeply unfair burden our Fishers and Coastal Communities have been asked to carry in order to bail out the EU in their finally reaching an agreement on Trade with the British.

All that we ask is that the core and founding principles of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy which instruct us that

“The Common Fishery Policy (CFP) a set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks. Designed to manage a common resource, it gives all European fishing fleets equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds and allows fishermen to compete fairly. Stocks may be renewable, but they are finite”

be upheld and that the families of Irish Fishers who share a common history of hundreds of years of participation in Fishing will not now be forced out of an economic activity, the riches of which surround them, in order to ensure that other far-distant economies and societies continue to prosper while keeping their Fishers at sea and their Boats paid for with and by our sacrifice!

Source: Press Release IS&WFPO

Brian J McMullin Solicitors
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