Independent TD, Michael Collins has accused the Irish Government of abandoning the Irish fishing sector

Independent TD, Michael Collins has accused the Irish Government of abandoning the Irish fishing sector

Government throws the Irish sector under the bus and protects interests of other member states.

Cork South West Deputy Michael Collins accuses both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine of gross negligence and failing in their duty to protect the Irish Fishing sector.

Speaking this weekend (Saturday 15 May), Rural Independent TD Michael Collins stated:

“Again, this week in the Dáil, I challenged the Taoiseach, the Minister and the SFPA on their campaign of imposing far reaching and destructive policies on the entire Irish fishing sector, wreaking turmoil.”

“The Taoiseach showed absolutely no interest in listening to these deeply held and genuine concerns, which have been created by his own government, while the Minister, responsible for fisheries, acts as a casual observer, more interested in keeping bureaucrats in Brussels and the SFPA happy than actually doing his job.”

“Our fishing communities are being disgracefully abandoned by this government on all fronts –  through punitive criminalisation regime signed into law by the Taoiseach last August, the sell-out Brexit deal and now through the weighing of fish at the point of landing.”

“All these measures were introduced at the behest of non-elected bureaucrats in Brussels. The government had the option of delaying or not accepting all these measures – but, they chose to run with the Brussels agenda instead.  In so doing, this enables the agenda of misinformation about the sector to accumulate while the Minister stands idle.”

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“Cumulatively, this represents the biggest back-knifing exercise on the fishery sector since Ireland joined the EU in 1973.”

“Clearly, the views of the sector mean very little to this government. If it did, they would have sought those views prior to making any decision on the three destructive polices they have inflicted.”

“To add insult to injury, my questioning of Minister Charlie Mc McConalogue, at the Oireachtas Committee this week, gleaned that he knew that EU officials were seeking changes to the weighting of fish since last December. Yet, instead of providing a copy of this audit report to the sector and enter into tangible discussions, he allowed the report to be leaked to the media and facilitated the SFPA to enforce a harsh new pier based weighing system at 5pm on April 16 last, with one hour of prior notice.”

“The new regime involves a CCTV system linked into the SFPA office and potentially shared with EU officials. This is more Orwellian in nature than practical and creates a new “Big Brother is watching” experience, despite the Irish sector having been the most regulated in the EU, prior to this change.”

“The Minister’s approach is appalling, keeping in with the government agenda to tarnish and criminalise fishers. It shows an atrocious level of contempt for the entire sector. The Minister provided no consultation, transparency, or even a transitionary arrangement.”

“Any Minister that ploughs ahead with a raft of intimidating new arrangements, which are procedurally flawed, utterly unworkable, negatively impacting the quality of fish, and criminalising fishers on 51 per cent balance of probability, is no friend or ally of the sector.”

“Irish fishers and the sector generally deserve much better. This government’s approach to fishing policy is not only inappropriate from a policy perspective – it also contravenes basic protections under our constitutions and the EU Charter of fundamental rights.”

“How can the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs from coastal and fishing constituencies be allowing this to happen or turning a blind eye?”

Deputy Collins concluded by saying, “I will use every ounce of energy I have to continue standing up for our fishermen on the ground and on the floor of the Dáil. My colleagues and I in the Rural Independent group will use every avenue available to challenge this government on the route they have taken.”

Source: Press Release

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Collins slams Taoiseach and Minister for abandonment of Irish fishing sector

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