Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford, John Browne, has called on Minister Simon Coveney to facilitate the trade of fishing quotas with countries like France so the livelihood of Irish fishermen can be maintained.

This week in the Dáil, Deputy Browne raised a special debate on the on-going dispute at Kilmore Quay involving over 100 fishermen and the Sea Fisheries Protection Office.

Deputy Browne commented: “I was very disappointed with the response of the Minister for the Marine. He said there would be no compromise in the current action being taken against the O’Flaherty Brothers at Kilmore Quay.

“The livelihoods of these men have been jeopardised; Kilmore Quay depends on the fishing industry and the area has been thrown into a state of crisis.

“What is most galling is the fact that while the O’Flaherty brothers have been compelled to cease all fishing; Spanish, French and Belgian ships can continue to fish these seas with their larger quotas.

“The Minister is blaming the O’Flaherty’s for overfishing the seas. The fact is that he has failed to adequately negotiate quota training with other EU countries that come nowhere near reaching their quotas. For instance, the French fished 38% of their monkfish and megrim quota last year.

“Minister Coveney needs to use his influence in Europe to negotiate with these countries to trade their quotas. An effective quota transfer between member states is a key part of the Common Fisheries Policy.

“The longer this dispute goes on, the bigger the hit is for the fishermen and the local community in Kilmore Quay. We need to see these trawlers back out to sea where they belong.”