Minister McConalogue addressed Donegal County Council Fisheries Committee today but it has raised concerns
Some members of the Irish fishing community are concerned about the context of Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue’s address to the Donegal County Council Fisheries Committee meeting earlier today.
The Irish fishing industry was hoping the Minister would challenge the EU Commission to provide much needed quota for the Irish fishing fleet in their own waters, but the Minister seemed to suggest that he was not confident of winning the battle and the Irish Fishing and Seafood Alliance (IFSA) claim the Minister is already resigned to ‘accepting our lot’.
Speaking to the members of the Fisheries Committee the Minister said:
“There’s no doubt that the burden is heavier on us. Now in terms of the task force they very clearly said. I went back at them hard at all times in relation to fighting for our guys on the border here, and likewise at every opportunity afterwards. And Michel Barnier admitted very clear in relation to myself in making this case and fighting this corner that the British were very much coming after and looking at the mackerel and the prawns were something that they were going after hard and that is in order to get a deal that was that was part of the equation.
Minister Charlie McConalogue addressing the Donegal County Council Fisheries Committee
“So that leaves us in a very difficult situation post–Brexit and also an unfair situation where the burden on ourselves is higher and heavier than it is in other Member States. Of course, once post the trade agreement situation, once the deal is done with the British government, and once that is that was signed-off, you then have a situation in order to get fish back or to secure fish, you then enter the equation of engaging with EU as opposed to engaging with the British government, during the deal and trying to get equitable burden sharing by the way the fish are reallocated. After the deal you are into a situation that in order to get fish reallocated or to get more fish for ourselves, you have to get it off your other EU member states and every Member State, as all of you who are in the sector will know, fight like tigers in relation to holding onto the quota they have in the same way that that we do. And it’s a zero-sum game and we get an extra fish somebody else is losing it somewhere, and that is the battle always at European level in relation to fish.”
In relation to the Minister’s speech, the IFSA replied, “How sad that in this Highland Radio link our Fisheries Minister sounds like he has already resigned to ‘accepting our lot’ with regards the fisheries outcome of the EU/UK Brexit deal and the totally unjust and disproportionate ‘sharing’ of the burden of ALL EU member states instead of saying he will lead a defence against the EU on behalf of the Irish fishing industry to seek justice for Irish quotas in Irish waters!”
By Oliver McBride