Government showing contempt for fishing communities claims Collins

THE Irish Government has once again shown its complete lack of concern for the Irish fishing industry as the British government prepares to ban all EU fishing vessels from its waters.

Independent Deputy Michael Collins has called on the Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Michael Creed to outline immediately what action the government is taking to ensure that the West Cork fishing industry is protected.

‘The fishing industry has long been forgotten by successive governments and now coastal fishing communities across West Cork and the country are facing yet another blow to their livelihoods,’ Deputy Collins said during Leaders Questions in the Dáil. On Sunday last the British, who have been sweeting the Irish government with some nice words on Brexit have shown their true colours by  banning Irish trawlers from British waters.’

‘The Irish fishing industry returns 60% of our mackerel socks and 40% of prawns from these waters and have with our EU colleagues done so for many years,’ Deputy Collins continued.

Speaking in the Dáil, following the announcement, Deputy Collins called on the Taoiseach to appoint a stand alone Minister for fishing industry. ‘This is long over due and a new Taoiseach who is in a position to give out a number of ‘Super Junior Ministries’ as he pleases, there is no reason why you can’t do it for this very important issue,’ Deputy Collins said. The West Cork TD went on to asked the Taoiseach where he thought the EU fishing vessel would turn to now that they are also to be banned from British waters?

‘Of course these vessel will turn to Irish waters to replace their quotas,’ Deputy Collins said. In Castletownbere alone Taoiseach, over €2.5 million of Irish fish has been landed by EU vessel and then transported away to other countries for processing. This is a massive loss to Irish fishermen and to the Irish economy as well.’

‘The most worrying outcome of all this is the fact that the Minister responsible for our fishing industry has admitted that this British decision to ban Irish and EU vessels will be disastrous and that the government does not have a plan to deal with this situation,’ Deputy Collins said. This lack of concern for the Irish fishing industry is nothing new but if this is an indication of the lengths that the British government are will to go to, we can be sure that a soft Brexit is not on their agenda.’