IFPEO chief Brendan Byrne gave Minister Charlie McConalogue a lesson in the problems in the Irish fishing industry

IFPEO chief Brendan Byrne gave Minister Charlie McConalogue a lesson in the problems in the Irish fishing industry

The chief of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Organisation gave Minister Charlie McConalogue a lesson in the problems with the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority at last night’s virtual townhall for Clare, Galway, Mayo and Sligo. 

The new IFPEO CEO, Brendan Byrne schooled the Minister of the shortfalls of the SFPA and criticised the Authority’s lack of engagement with the fishing industry, along with hitting out at a never-ending string of incompetence suffered at their hands. 

He slammed the SFPA representatives who attended last Tuesday’s Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine saying, “They were asked seventeen questions by different TDs and Senators. I can safely say they didn’t answer fourteen of them. They may have answered two, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.” 

Mr Byrne went on to point out to the Minister that the Authority has had a long history of being called incompetent starting in 2012 up to the Price, Waterhouse Cooper report in 2020. 

He said, “There are legacies going back to within five-years of when the SFPA was set-up” and called the Authority a flawed entity, which has been backed up by his colleagues on the night. 

He criticised the leaking of the EU Commission report to national newspapers, which the SFPA has said was not down to them, but he outlined clearly to the Minister that the leaking of the report was a clear breach of General Data Protection Regulations compliance.

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He said that the whole Irish fishing industry was being punished for the actions of a few. He also called the Minister to provide the industry with the report as they are fighting a case where they have not been given due process. 

“The lack of visibility of evidence for these fishers, for us as representative bodies are at a severe disadvantage to how we can debate this. 

“If you look at the statistics, over the last 10-year period. We have less than 1% of infringement were the most complient there is in the Coastal States. That’s the record.” 

You can listen to the full exchange below: 

by Oliver McBride

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IFPEO Chief gives Minister lesson on Irish fishing industry problems 

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