By Dan Walsh
Minister for Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue invited producer organisations and industry representatives involved in today’s Dublin protest to a meeting this afternoon.
In a statement, Mr McConalogue said that he and the Government “stand with our fishers” and welcome engagement with them, and that he recognised “the challenges facing the industry because of Brexit and the pandemic.”
A dozen fishing vessels sailed from Kilmore Quay yesterday and joined fishermen from Donegal, Galway, Louth, Dublin, Waterford and Cork taking part in a protest involving 55 trawlers gathered at the entrance of Dublin Port this morning.
The children and grandchildren of some of the fishermen taking part in the protest delivered a letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin at the National Convention Centre, where the Dáil is sitting.
The protest is in response to quotas cuts, the impact of Brexit and the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The Irish fishing industry is worth over €1 billion to the Irish economy and employs 16,000 people. Following Brexit, the national quota was cut by 15%, seriously impacting jobs and livelihoods in the industry.
Lack of “level playing field” under the EU Common Fisheries Policy is destroying the Irish fishing industry and coastal communities. An Taoiseach was told Government is failing to defend Irish rights and is destroying coastal communities.
Fishermen have also raised concerns in response to a recent EU ruling that states fish need to be weighed on piers, which they state could lower the quality of the catch and create logistical difficulties.
Cllr Jim Moore, who has given active support to the local fishing industry since 1989, opinioned two main problems to WexfordLocal.com “EU management and the share of the quotas is problematic,” said Cllr Moore, who added; “We need to be managing our affairs better because we got into this business because of weigh on the pier policy and that is mismanagement.”
Fish is transported by road to the Dublin markets daily starting at Kilmore Quay and collecting catches at Rosslare, Wexford, Cahore, Courtown, Arklow and other coastal centres in Co. Wicklow.
On May 26th last around 50 boats from the coastal areas Kilmore Quay to Dingle sailed through the night and assembled at Roche’s Point at 7am before the public awareness flotilla of boats sailed up the River Lee to Cork City to highlight the huge strain on the fishing industry and delivered a plea for help at An Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s constituency office.