Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has described Britain’s decision to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention as rash and reckless.
The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, said the move was worryingly typical of a British Government that was careening into a hard Brexit with little purpose or direction.
“This was a rash and reckless move by the British Government and one that was alarmingly Trump-esque in nature,” she said.
“This announcement will only serve to harden attitudes in Europe on all sides and if nothing else is wildly premature as quotas and fishing rights will all form part of the Brexit negotiations taking place over the next two years.
“As is becoming the norm, Ireland is once again left as collateral damage in the Tory quest for a hard Brexit. This move will have a damning effect on centuries of Irish and British boats sharing waters, not to mention the problems it will cause for fishermen north and south.
“We catch half of our quota in British waters and with Britain leaving the EU Ireland will have 30% of Europe’s viable fishing waters and 40% of its stocks yet we will be restricted to landing just 5% of the overall catch . This will put incredible pressure on our industry and also leaves Ireland at risk of being flooded with non-Irish vessels displaced from British waters.
“Stakeholders estimate Brexit will cause the loss of between 500 and 600 Irish vessels. As our industry is mostly comprised of small vessels what that means in real terms is thousands of families losing their primary source of income and the death of coastal communities right around the country.
“If anything good can be said to have come of this announcement it is that it seems to have shocked the Government into some sort of action. While I certainly welcome the comments for Minister Creed on this issue it is alarming that it took such a drastic measure by the British to wake them up to the disaster that is now looming over our fishing industry.
“In the wake of this announcement the Irish Government must demand that non-Irish vessels displaced from British waters are not automatically redirected into increasingly crowded Irish waters.”