Sinn Féin has tabled a Private Members Bill to annual S.I 318 of 2020
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine, Padraig MacLochlainn TD, has tabled a Private Members Bill to annual S.I 318 of 2020.
Deputy MacLochlainn tabled the Bill in yesterday evening’s Dáil sitting and it will be debated later today.
Sinn Féin has challenged the statutory instrument recently signed by An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin whilst he was acting Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Last week, new Minister Charlie McConalogue said that he had no intention of making amendments to the legislation his party, Fianna Fáil, voted down in 2018.
Deputy MacLochlainn said that Sinn Féin was moving this Private Members Bill to protect Ireland’s fishing communities by annulling an unfair and unjust penalty points system.
In a press release Deputy MacLochlainn went said:
“Sinn Féin are moving this Private Members Bill to protect Ireland’s fishing communities by annulling an unfair and unjust penalty points system.
“Fishers all around our coast were shocked and outraged when they learned that the Taoiseach had signed off on the statutory instrument introducing regulations containing this penalty point system.
“Ireland’s fishers are presently enduring the impact of COVID-19 and facing a potentially livelihood threatening Brexit. For an Irish Government to now throw this on top of them also is beyond belief.
“This scheme, as with the last one that Fianna Fáil annulled, accepts a ‘balance of probability’ position for prosecution and allows a situation where applied penalty points remain on a licence even if a court of law may deem after a court appeal that a fisher did not commit an offence.
“It also allows allocated points to transfer and multiply with the sale of a quota even though the purchaser will not have committed any offence and furthermore allows the nominated authority by Government to oversee the penalty points system to essentially be judge, jury and executioner.”
He reiterated that fishermen would battle any prosecutions tooth and nail through the courts.
“Fishing organisations have already advised that they will bring the Government through the Courts again as soon as the first prosecution occurs. This happened back in 2016 when the Supreme Court ruled that scheme as being unconstitutional.
“We need to stand up for our fishing communities and ensure they are treated in a fair and proportionate manner. Common sense must prevail.
“Fianna Fáil are totally exposed by Michaél Martin’s action to sign this penalty points system into law, which contradicts their previous stance on this issue. I am urging TDs in Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and the Greens and indeed across all parties in the Dáil to see sense and stop this illegal system urgently”