The KFO is enraged at Government’s U-turn on penalty points for the Irish fishing industry
Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) CEO, Seán O’Donoghue has stated that the fishing industry is livid that Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, acting as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, enacted highly controversial penalty points legislation on Friday 28 August with zero consultation with fishermen and in spite of having stridently opposed it, while in opposition.
“This is quite simply, a scandalous and a very misguided step by the Taoiseach. We have made our point regarding the penalty points measure on numerous occasions and we were fully supported by Fianna Fáil when they were in opposition. We are not against a penalty points regime since it is an EU requirement but there must be an equitable manner of administering this.
“Page 82 of the current Programme for Government commits to ‘Implement a fair EU points system in order to protect fish stocks and ensure the release of suspended EU funding.’ This signing of the Statutory Instrument (SI) by the Taoiseach has come completely out of the blue and putting it mildly, is neither fair nor reasonable and runs contrary to the Programme for Government of introducing a fair system.
“Our industry is simply apoplectic. The SI must be amended and the offending parts removed such as the burden of proof to be changed to beyond reasonable doubt, no right of appeal to High Court except on a point of law and incredibly, even if the fisherman is successful in the High Court, the penalty points would still remain on the licence,” concluded Mr O’Donoghue.