Sinn Féin politicians Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD and Chris MacManus MEP meet fishermen along the west coast ahead of fisheries policy launch
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD is on a three-day tour of piers and harbours in the west of Ireland to meet with fishermen in Mayo, Galway, Kerry and Cork along with Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus and local Sinn Féin TDs and party representatives.
Teachta Mac Lochlainn said:
“The fishermen all around our coast are hardworking and decent people. Many of them are from families who have fished for generations.
“All they ask for is to be treated with respect and to be given a fair share of the fish in our own Irish waters.
“The sad truth is that this government and recent governments have not ensured that either happens. That is why the recent protest by fishermen and fish producers in Dublin was so strongly attended by communities from all around our coast..
“Ireland has 12% of the overall waters in the European Union but we receive, at best, about 4% of the fish under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. This costs hundreds of millions euro every year, and thousands of jobs in our coastal and fishing communities.
“The outcome of the Brexit and EU/UK Trade Agreement has only made a bad situation worse. This government needs to stand up for our Irish fishermen in Europe, and demand our fair share of the fish in our own Irish waters.
“Tomorrow, I will also launch Sinn Féin’s updated policy on fisheries, ‘Stand Up For Irish Fishermen’.
“This is the outcome of extensive consultations with those who work in the industry across this island.
“While we focus on that need for a fair share of the fish, another particular emphasis is on the need for root and branch reform of the Department of the Marine and the SFPA, and a restart of the relationship between the state and the coastal and fishing communities that civil and public servants are supposed to serve”.
Speaking from Ros a’ Mhíl , MacManus said:
“This is a critical time for Ireland’s coastal and fishing communities. The sector has sustained a number of blows recently, with Brexit and the resulting loss in quota being the most devastating of them all.
“We need the government to stand up for our coastal and fishing communities, and we need the government to demand our fishers will get a fair share of the fish in our waters
“We also need look at equal burden sharing for the loss of fish quota arising from the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement amongst the fishing fleets of all EU Member States.
“This quota loss amounts to tens of millions of euro each year to our fleet.
MacManus concluded by stating the need to sustainably harness the full potential of our fisheries, to the benefit of coastal and fishing communities.
“As an Island nation, we need to be looking at ways to sustainably harness the full potential of our fishing and coastal communities. This will require the Irish government to take a stand and demand a fair share of the fish in Irish waters. The time for excuses and using our fishing communities as a bargaining chip must end.”
Source: Press Release