17 January 2018
By Elaine Murphy
Cork based Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada held a bilateral meeting with European Commissioner for Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, in the European Parliament this week.
The Ireland South MEP met with Mr Vella to discuss the current state and future for Irish fisheries, Brexit and access to funding and redress mechanisms.
Ms Ní Riada, who is a member of the EU Fisheries Committee, said;
“I have always sought to use my position to bring the plight of ordinary Irish fishermen to the forefront of European politics, so I was very keen to discuss a range of issues with Mr Vella,” she said.
“One of the key issues we discussed was access to funding streams and the possibilities of public and private insurance or relief schemes for Irish fishermen, which will be worked into a set of proposals.
“We discussed the potential impact Brexit will have if Irish fisheries fall victim to displaced foreign fishing fleets. I made clear that should the British government expel foreign boats it is simply unacceptable that those displaced vessels would just be shunted into Irish waters.
“It outlined to the Commission how the Hague Preferences had not been adequately applied in Ireland´s case and that the issue of national quota distribution at home must be the preserve of the Irish government.
“The Commission argued that in the event of Brexit or if relative stability was revised they still must fulfil other international obligation, however, I outlined, in no uncertain terms, the substantial contribution Ireland has made down through the years to the EU economy in terms of the value of the fish taken by other member states from Irish waters.
“I made clear that that contribution, already above and beyond what we owe, is at a maximum and any further over-saturation of Irish waters would collapse our indigenous industry.
“Today’s meeting was useful. There will be many more such meetings ahead regarding Ireland’s fisheries, particularly in regards to Brexit, but Sinn Féin’s position and the position of coastal communities right around the country has been made abundantly clear to Mr Vella and the Commission.”