Minister McConalogue is positive ahead of meeting Irish fishing industry representatives this afternoon

Minister McConalogue is positive ahead of meeting Irish fishing industry representatives this afternoon

Government officials will meet with representatives from the Irish fishing industry this afternoon at 2.00pm to discuss the current crisis facing the industry.

Irish fishing is at a point of no return after a disastrous outcome to Brexit which left the Irish fleet with access to only 15% of the total fishing quota in their own waters, a loss of 26% in UK waters due to the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and all in the midst of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic affecting markets on the Continent, where fish prices are at times close to crashing point. The loss of the Control Plan along with the UK excluding Irish fishing vessels from inside the 12-nautical mile limit have also had a major impact across the industry.

Today’s meeting is scheduled to last an hour and An Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine Charlie McConalogue TD with their advisors on behalf of the Government.

Minister McConalogue says that he is believes it is a positive move and is looking forward to meeting with the sector.

“I welcome all engagement with the fishing industry and fishing representatives and today’s social dialogue with An Taoiseach is a useful opportunity for us to continue engagement with the industry.

This follows my Townhalls last month and will be in advance of my tours to ports later this year.”

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It is expected that the representatives from the fishing industry will present An Taoiseach and the Minister with six points which are:

  • The Brexit TCA Agreement between EU and UK was both unfair and unjust and penalised Ireland’s fishing industry. There must be equal Burden Sharing throughout the Member States.
  • The revoking of Ireland’s Fish Landing Control Plan by the EU Commission impacting the reputation of the entire Irish Fishing Industry must not be allowed to destroy Ireland’s reputation in the production of Premium Quality Fish. This must be reversed with immediate effect.
  • Traditional access to fishing grounds at Rockall must be reinstated by EU negotiation with Scotland as requested by Ireland.
  • On Enforcement, we submit that Penalty Points for fisheries offences should only be applied to License Holders & Skippers following a Court Conviction.
  • Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund – now known as the BAR Fund – of which €1.2 Billion is said to be available to Ireland must be used to redress the damage to the Irish Fishing Industry caused by the unfair loss of quota. A compensation package to be assessed and paid on the basis of the loss of earnings that will accrue from generation to generation and year after year into the future must be put in place by Government.
  • Renegotiation of Common Fisheries Policy so that Ireland is allocated a fair share of fish quotas that reflect the contribution of our fishing grounds to the EU.

On Saturday last, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, met with fishing representatives in Castletownbere.

On the meeting he said, “It was good to meet with members of the southwest fishing industry in Castletownbere today.

“We’re fully conscious of the huge challenges in the aftermath of Brexit.

“Two-way dialogue will help explore those shared challenge. We want to do right by our fishing communities.”

 by Oliver McBride

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