Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue will not consider amendments to S.I 318 of 2020
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed that Minister Charlie McConalogue will not make amendments to the penalty points system signed into law by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin on 26 August 2020.
Last week members of the four Irish fish producers organisations, the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation. the IrishFish Produccers Organisation, the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation and the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, met remotely with the Minister to discuss Brexit and the issue of the penalty but came away dissatisfied with the Minister’s response.
On Friday 18 September, the four fish producers sent a joint letter to Minister McConalogue asking him to reconsider four Sections in S.I 318 of 2020 which they considered their “main concerns”.
In a communication to The Fishing Daily, a Department official said:
“The Minister is satisfied that the new arrangements as provided for in this S.I. are the minimum required to meet the tests of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness as required under EU law.
“Also, the new S.I. takes on board in full the findings of the related 2017 Supreme Court judgment that the procedures followed must be fair and in accordance with best practices.
“The Minister is confident that the new enhanced points system for licence holders provided for in the S.I., applicable equally to Irish and other EU vessels operating in our 200 mile zone, will play an important role in delivering on our Common Fisheries Policy objective of ensuring proportionate, effective and dissuasive penalties for serious infringements and will contribute to a level playing field in fisheries control across Member States and will help to protect the stocks in our zone and protect the livelihoods of the vast majority of our law abiding fishermen.”
The Taoiseach and the Minister has been heavily criticised for supporting a piece of legislation they voted down when in opposition in 2018. Then DAFM Minister, Michael Creed TD sought to introduce the exact same S.I but Fianna Fáil TD, Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher tabled a motion before the House which saw the legislation defeated.
At the time Fianna Fáil TD declared “The statutory Instrument placed before the Dáil by Minister Creed seriously undermines the rights of individual fishermen and vessel owners throughout the country”
As Patrick Murphy from the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation commented “We seem to have gone back in time and are experiencing amnesia with regards to our current government and the parties that are in it.”