Taoiseach vows to ‘do the right thing for the Irish fishing industry’ and fight the EU for a better deal
The Taoiseach vowed to fight for a better deal in Europe for fishermen, saying he was “not happy” with the part of the burden borne by the Irish fishing industry after Brexit.
MicheÃ¡l Martin met with industry representatives at Castletownbere and Union Hall in West Cork following a warning from the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organization (ISWFPO) that thousands of jobs will be lost if the government does not intervene.
The fishing organization pointed out that the UK has 75% of fish in its waters while Ireland is reduced to 15% in Irish waters.
He indicates that Brexit is costing individuals in the sector between â¬ 5,000 and â¬ 20,000 in lost income.
Fishermen say the “final straw” for the industry was a decision by the European Commission that Ireland cannot be trusted to control its fishing quotas under the Common Fisheries Policy.
Mr Martin pledged he would ‘do good for the Irish fishing industry‘ and pledged to work to convince Europe to let Irish fishermen catch more of their own fish.
Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan, who joined Martin for the meeting, said the government “must do whatever it takes” to get a better deal with the fishing industry.
The fishermen, who last month mounted a flotilla in Cork Harbor to highlight their cause and delivered a letter outlining their concerns to Mr Martin’s constituency office, say the government is not doing enough to defend them in Europe .
They say the future of a billion-dollar-a-year industry that employs 16,000 people is not only uncertain but is dying.
Even the government has accepted that the national fishing fleet is going to have to be reduced in order to ensure that there is a sustainable industry for those who remain.
Speaking after the meeting, which lasted almost two hours, Mr. Martin said: âIt was very important that we have this meeting today.
âWe want to make sure that we have a two-way dialogue and that we hear the needs and concerns of the fishing industry.
“We have already signaled to the European Commission that we are not happy with the unfair burden-sharing resulting from Brexit.”
He said the whole issue around Ireland’s quota allocation, which governs how much fish its fleet can catch each month, is a “difficult one” and that he needs to see if it can “restore it. balance in the interests of the Irish fishing industry “.
“We want to do the right thing for the Irish fishing community,” he said.
Fianna FÃ¡il Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan, who organized Mr Martin’s visit, said: âThe important thing is that the Taoiseach can hear first-hand from the industry the huge challenges facing the industry and the impact of Brexit.
âWe have to rise up and take action.
âWe need to go back to Europe and fight and push for a fairer share of the European fishing quota.
“If they don’t, then the industry is in more trouble.” “We have to do whatever it takes.”
Irish Southern and Western Fish Producers‘ Organization CEO Patrick Murphy, who was there with ISWFPO colleague Damien Turner, said the meeting was “productive”.
âHe had to stay with us for a full hour and gave us an hour and 45 minutes, so that’s not a bad thing.
âDid we get all the points we would have liked to get across? No.
“Have we scratched the surface? Yes.
âDo we think he has a better understanding of the fishing industry? With a bit of luck.”
He added, âOur country’s Taoiseach is the only one who can make changes for us.
“We want to be able to catch more fish in our own waters and we have to put in place a system where our Taoiseach can come out and make these arguments for us in Europe.”