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The Political ‘Shafting’ Of The Fishing Industry

Healthy disagreement is never a bad thing  – as long as it Is polite and, preferably, well-mannered.

This is the theme of the editorial which I have written for the October edition of the MARINE TIMES, where I am Deputy Editor.

The fishing industry needs stability and has been denied this by successive governments.

The fishing industry has been used to pay for other benefits acquired from the EU, going back to the appalling entry agreement Ireland concluded with the then Common Market in the 70s. Billions of Euro have been paid to the EU through the fish catches taken from Irish waters which have enriched French and Spanish fishing fleets and industries, as well as others, to the detriment of Ireland.

Has an Irish natural resource been turned into a ‘colonial’ one for the EU?

That is a question which should have more national debate. There are politicians who say we should not look back, but forward. That is difficult to do when the same mistakes made back then are repeated.

It seems that this is about to happen again with the apparent willingness of the Irish government to effectively force the decommissioning of more boats, which means their removal from the Irish fleet.

The Brexit Agreement with the UK replicates the 70s. Undertakings given to the industry were reneged upon because the government conceded to the EU in the Brexit deal which favoured nations other than Ireland.

Ireland’s politicians and political advisors have, again, not given adequate attention to the Irish fishing industry or the coastal communities. The outcome has been the ‘shafting’ of the industry which believed government undertakings given to it.

It is notable how few government Ministers and government party politicians speak strongly in favour of the fishing industry which they have so miserably failed.

Will the government again abandon the fishing industry by forcing more Irish fishing boats to decommission, which really means forced redundancy for fishermen and their families, because it failed to get a good deal for the industry in the Brexit negotiations, which it had promised.  Why does Ireland only a 15 per cent quota for Irish fishing boats to catch fish in Irish waters when the rest of the EU has 85 per cent?

‘Exploiting irish fishermen’ is a documentary produced by  Sean Moroney, creator of ‘The Fishers Voice,’ a social media initiative created to garner support for the plight of Irish fishermen who say they go unheard by the government.

It has been released this week and can be viewed on You Tube.

To view it is to get an indication of the reality of what faces fishermen.

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Tom MacSweeney

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