12 March 2018
By Elaine Murphy
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South-West Margaret Murphy O’Mahony says it’s imperative that fisheries industry remains to the forefront of the Brexit negotiations.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony made the comment following the publication of the draft guidelines issued by the European Council last week.
Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said, “It’s positive to see the fisheries industry receiving prominent mention in the draft guidelines issued last week. The fisheries industry is vital to the economy of many coastal towns and villages, including those here in south-west Cork
“It’s vital that we maintain our existing access to fishing waters. The Government also needs to ensure that no tariffs are introduced on fish stocks landed in Ireland. Certainty is also needed on the total allowable catches to allow the fishing industry to plan ahead during the turbulent Brexit transition.
“A great deal of uncertainty still exists in regard to the future direction of these talks and just last week in the United kingdom, we witnessed the Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr Hammond expressing a view that the British territorial water would be open for foreign fishing boats as part of the talks process while at the same time the Secretary of Agriculture and Fishing Mr Gove, said they would not be opening UK territorial water for foreign fishing vessels either as part of the talks or subsequently.
“With such contradictory Government messages coming from the British, then it is clear that there are going to be significant challenges negotiating with the British Government when they do not have a clearly defined policy on fishing in terms of Brexit.
“It is clear that the Irish Government needs to urgently increase the lobbying for the Irish fishing sector within the Brexit negotiations, the proximity of Irish and British fishing grounds mean that one cannot function without the other – fishing stocks do not recognise territorial water boundaries.
“I challenge the Government to step up their efforts for the fishing sector as we approach the final 13 months of negotiations before the article 50 trigger date in 2019 for the UK exit from the EU – more of the same is not an option at such a critical time as this, our Government needs to position themselves to the forefront of defending Irish fishing interests at this time and that is not clearly evident to date.”