By Dan Walsh
An incident at sea involving an Irish registered trawler, the Mary J from Kilmore Quay, who was put off her fishing grounds by the Irish Navy vessel, the William Butler Yeats, was raised at today’s meeting of Wexford County Council held in ‘the Street’ at Carricklawn Headquarters, Wexford, under Covid-19 guidelines, by Aontú and Rosslare District member Cllr Jim Codd.
Cllr Codd said the Mary J WD-17 was fishing alongside another Kilmore Quay based fishing vessel on grounds south of Cork when they received a call from the Navy over the VHF allegedly stating “This is the warship William Butler Yeats. Prepare for boarding’.
Cllr Jim Codd said a €65 million warship with a crew of 44 threatened a thirty-year-old ‘rust bucket’ from their own country with a crew of four while ignoring foreign vessels working in the area.
At the time, there were Belgium trawlers working in the same area. “The two Kilmore Quay fishing vessels were fishing an area of Irish waters, along with four Belgian vessels when an Irish navy ship approached,” alleged Cllr Codd, who added; “It ignored the Belgian boats and engaged the Kilmore ships following a stark warning.”
The Mary J was boarded and escorted back to Kilmore Quay Harbour where the Navy carried out their investigations.
Cllr Codd demanded to know what was going on at the port and called on the Council to write to the relevant Minister in search of answers.
Cathaoirleach Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy told the meeting that Wexford County Council did not send the naval ship?
Cllr Tom Forde said he agreed with Cllr Codd and pledged support for the fishermen and in support he felt that writing to the Minister could be supportive.
Cllr Jim Moore objected to the term ‘rust bucket’ being used. He said it was a poor representation of the very worthy and high-quality fishing fleet at Kilmore Quay. Cllr Codd reiterated that the reference to ‘rust bucket’ was a description used by the skipper. Cllr Moore was also critical of the Sinn Féin influence and the European agenda.