IS&WFPO IFPEA military operation

The IS&WFPO and IFPEA propose an immediate 10-year moratorium on all further military exercises within Ireland’s EEZ. Photo: NATO

An immediate 10-year moratorium on all further military exercises within Irelands EEZ proposed by IS&WFPO and IFPEA.

The Chief Executives of the Irish South and West Fishermen’s Producers Organisation (IS&WFPO) Mr Patrick Murphy and Mr Brendan Byrne of the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) have called on the Irish Government to immediately introduce a ten-year moratorium on any future military exercises within Irish Waters or within the overall Irish EEZ. This call comes within days of the Russian Government’s decision, which was an act of goodwill on their part to move their proposed military exercises to an area outside of the Irish EEZ off southwest of Ireland.

It is clear that the Irish people are extremely uncomfortable with any further or future military exercises within their jurisdiction, and the Irish fishing industry simply will not tolerate the potential risks or disturbances involved with such exercises, either on the fish stocks or the eco sensitive nature of the seas surrounding Ireland. Such military exercises are an environmental risk to the seas the sustain our coastal communities.

Fishermen are the true custodians of the seas and oceans, and at a time of global change in our world including our atmosphere and temperatures of our seas and oceans, everything is in a state of flux and threat at present. To permit further military exercises of any scale would be wrong, and with the precedent being set by Russia in Irish waters, now is the time to bring a closure to these types of activities within our waters.

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While many grey areas exist regarding the interpretation of the laws of the seas (LOS), and particularly in relation to Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) it is clearly understood that “the allowance of military activity or exercises under international law does not mean that they can be conducted without any regulation “.

It is in that context that the IS&WFPO and the IFPEA are proposing a ten-year moratorium of military exercises as opposed to an outright ban, as the latter would cause legal issues in international law.

The basis of our proposal fits within the provision of regulation, in terms of potential impacts to the destruction to the sensitive ecology of the seas, environmental concerns and hazards, disturbances to traditional fishing grounds. Precedent does already exist particularly in the eastern countries of Asia, notwithstanding the newly created precedent created in Ireland over the past week when a nation graciously volunteers to withdraw from a military exercise within a states EEZ.

Ireland is in a perfect position to take a world lead on this issue with its position on the United Nations and the European Union, the world focus on Ireland over the past week must not be lost in creating an opportunity to solve this issue in order to avoid any repeat of these events in the years ahead. It is time for other states to recognise Irelands desire that no further military exercises take place upon its seas and oceans.

Our Government must act to safeguard our seas and oceans from the needless destruction.

Note: Irelands own navy would be permitted to conduct training exercises for its own purpose only and is exempt from this moratorium but would be regulated as to where within the seas and ocean it could conduct such exercises.

Source: Press Release

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IS&WFPO and IFPEA make joint proposal on future at-sea military exercises

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