The Irish Forgotten and Inshore Fisherman group wants to take the fight for fishing rights to the EU
A new splinter group calling themselves the Irish Forgotten and Inshore Fisherman has emerged from the Irish fishing industry.
The independanr non-profit group led by Bernard Mac Quillan from Co Louth says that they are dismayed by the current situation of the fishing in Ireland and that they have lost faith with the Government, government bodies and those who are representing the industry.
Speaking to The Fishing Daily this week, Bernard Mac Quillan said that the treatment of inshore fishers and other in the industry has to stop, and they are looking to become the new representatives for the Irish inshore sector in the EU.
“I see that the change is coming every week,” Bernard told our editor, Oliver McBride. “We want to set up a group that deals with the inshore sector that is totally forgotten about. If you look at the task force report (Irish Seafood Sector Task Force Interim Report), they give us one paragraph and that’s basically on the mackerel that they want.
“And then you have the forgotten fishing, like the salmon fishing that was stolen of the industry years ago under false pretences, and some of the people still have the letters that were sent out.”
Bernard says that the independent group is setting out to right the wrongs suffered by the industry for many years.
He said, “We don’t recognise BIM, or the SFPA or the FLAGs, because the simple reason is, why is it still so bad?
“If they were doing the jobs that they are supposed to be doing, why are things still so bad for the inshore fishing sector?
“They are doing a very good and professional job at what Europe wants them to do, and that is put the Irish fishermen out of a job.”
“Asked what the new group intends to achieve, Bernard said, “We are proposing a mandate that over the next number of weeks we meet fishermen, we have a rally, and we listen to the issues that are affecting fisherman today
“We need to listen to their queries, and we need to come up with some sort of mandate that we can go to the EU with.”
Bernard believes that the current system that is in place for the Irish fishing industry is not currently fit for purpose, and that if the group brought a mandate to the EU, then other Member States might start to listen.
“We could see a change. What is here is not working. What is in place is not working. We nearly got rid of BIM some years ago but FLAG saved them, so FLAG in my mind is not working.
“Why are we seeing so many fisheries in Ireland being closed down or shut out?
“Why are we seeing the like the CJ Gaffney being ignored by the Irish Government when you have got the EU telling the Irish government the money is there. Draw it down. It’s of no cost to the Irish taxpayer.”
Bernard insists that he is not setting up an organisation that is looking for financial support from fishermen.
“I don’t want to set up an obligation here today and people have to put money in my pocket. I understand funding will be needed but we will look at other ways to fund the project.”
The Irish Forgotten and Inshore Fisherman rejects outright the idea of compensation from the BAR fund. Bernard says, “I understand that people need money to survive, but this is one single payment? Then what? Are they going to keep it open until the EU gives us money to decommission another 50 boats from the fleet?
“Does that fisherman then give that money to his son or daughter to come into the fishing industry, which means buying up valuable tonnage to get in, and then that makes it harder for another young person to get their own boat?”
He continued by saying, “The problem here is that there’s a vicious circle going on and we need to break free from it. We can’t trust the Government to fight our corner in any situation when their main objectives are coming from their bosses in the EU.”
Bernard and the Irish Forgotten and Inshore Fisherman are hoping to hold a rally in Dundalk within the next few weeks, but no date has been confirmed.
You can find out more about the Irish Forgotten and Inshore Fisherman by visiting their Facebook page.