The organiser behind yesterday’s harbour blockade in Dingle, Co Kerry has said “We have to protect our community.”
Speaking on the Newstalk Breakfast radio show, Robert Brosnan defended the move to block two foreign fishing vessels from entering the harbour at Dingle due to concerns over social distancing protocols not being observed by their crews.
The protest was mounted to block 40 French and Spanish fishermen from entering the town because they believed their inaction on social distancing was putting local peoples’ health at risk during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Crews from Spain and France were moving through the town not keeping social distance, causing fear in the community,” Mr Brosnan told the show.
He continued by saying that the town has a sizeable elderly community with a number of nursing homes and that this behaviour by the visiting fishermen was causing unnecessary and extra worry to a community already told to keep to themselves.
“People in the town felt that they were not being listened to,” he said.
He and a group of other fishermen and locals parked cars at the end of the pier, effectively blocking anyone from moving off the pier.
He said he was proud of the stand he and his colleagues had made. “We identified a danger and took a stand on behalf of the community.”
Mr Brosnan said he understood that the crews would want to walk around when they come into port, but they had not been observing social distancing measures and they came from two countries that were badly impacted by the Covid-19 virus.
“We have to protect our community.”
In relation to the blockade, it is understood an agreement has been reached in relation to stopping French and Spanish fishing boats docking in Dingle.
According to the Irish Examiner, local politician, Sinn Féin TD, Pa Daly said yesterday evening that a verbal agreement was reached not to come ashore in Dingle.
The paper also cites a Department of Health spokesperson, who says there are no entry restrictions to Ireland at present, even though anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, will be required to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days.
However, essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff are exempt which means there are no restrictions in place in Ireland on foreign crews from fishing vessels.