Government must stand up for fishermen and end unfair treatment – McGuinness

Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has urged the government to stand up for Irish fishermen and end the long-running injustices in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

He made the comments at the demonstration by fishing families that took place on the Liffey and outside the Convention Centre in Dublin. All five of Waterford’s Sinn Féin councillors attended the demonstration alongside Waterford TD David Cullinane, and the party’s fisheries spokesperson Padraig MacLochlainn TD. 

McGuinness said:

“We are calling on the government to stand up for Irish fishermen and end the injustice of the current Common Fisheries Policy. This terrible policy has devastated Ireland’s fishing communities.

“This government has failed to act and stand up for our fishing communities.

“They have sat idly by again while an injustice has continued whereby Ireland has 12% of the waters in the EU but our fishermen are only allowed to catch 4% of the fish”

“This costs our State thousands of jobs and hundreds of million worth of seafood every year. It is shameful and the government has shown it is totally unwilling to act and stand up for our fishing communities.

“Fishing is an intrinsic part of the life of our communities all along the Waterford coastline, from Youghal Bay to the Suir Estuary.

“The economic potential of our sea fisheries sector has not been fully realised. Damaging and neglectful policies by successive governments have held the industry back, while our maritime natural resources have been gifted to large-scale fishing operations in Spain, France and Belgium. 

“We now need a statement of intent from our government that they will fight tooth and nail for Ireland’s fair share of the fish in our waters when the Common Fisheries Policy is revisited.

“We also urgently need an equal burden sharing of the loss of fish quota arising from the EU/ UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement amongst the fishing fleets of all EU Member States. This quota loss amounts to tens of millions of euro each year to our fleet.

“Locally we need to see targeted investment in maintaining fisheries harbours, including dredging Cé Heilbhic, as well as a resolution to the landing ban for British registered boats at Dunmore East. 

“Today the fishing community has come out in force in Dublin to send a strong message to those in power that this disgraceful situation cannot continue any longer. I am calling on the government to listen to their calls. 

“Sinn Féin will stand with our fishing communities and stand up for their rights.”