Sinn Féin votes to protect Irish Lobster Fishers – McGuinness

Sinn Féin Councillor Conor McGuinness has criticised an EU plan to eliminate customs duties on certain products, citing the negative implications the deal would have on Irish lobster fishers.

McGuinness said:

“My party colleague MEP Chris McManus has voted against this flawed proposal in the European Parliament. Sinn Féin is committed to supporting Ireland’s inshore fishing industry, including lobster fishers. 

The proposed US-EU trade deal would see the elimination of tariffs for certain products, including an elimination of tariffs on US lobster being imported into the EU.”

“These trade deal negotiations, which until recently were overseen by Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan, have been widely criticised by people from Irish fishing and coastal communities.

“The former commissioner and his negotiators ignored these communities and undermined their industry. It would seem that the profit margins of French multinationals are more important than supporting coastal communities in Ireland.

“When this deal was announced, I raised my concerns that the elimination of tariffs will lead to low-priced American lobster flooding the EU market, which would have a detrimental effect on our fishing industry. Our inshore fishing industry, comprised of smaller boats and family operators, is ecologically sustainable and economically important for coastal communities across the Waterford coast.”

“Times are hard enough on fishing communities without adding to their woes. This is already a hugely damaging time for Ireland’s fishing communities. Covid-19 and an impending Brexit has left the sector struggling. Tariff-free imports of US lobster will now add to that. 

“It seems that the Irish Government and the European Union are hellbent on pursuing this trade deal. It is vital that they introduce targeted supports for the inshore fishing industry to offset the loss in income and jobs that this deal will inevitably cause.”