Leas Cheann Comhairle and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on the Marine & Fisheries Pat the Cope Gallagher has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to engage with the fisheries sector to ensure the redrafting of an acceptable system for penalty points for serious fishing infringements is workable for both fisheries communities while meeting EU obligations.

Deputy Gallagher said “Fisheries communities have been left in limbo over the past 253 days, with no political engagement whatsoever from the Minister. This is despite the fact on that day, 253 days ago, a workable solution was presented that would have met European Union obligations.

“While this statutory instrument has been revoked by the Dáil the Minister sought advice from the Attorney General on where to proceed next. The Minister could not detail the advice from the AG, why the cloak and daggers from the Department?

“We are in new politics and we are representing the interests of those in the fisheries community, but the Minister is prepared to bring in legislation that does not give a right of appeal to the individuals and does not go to prove an issue beyond reasonable doubt.

“The Minister must explain what advice has been provided by the Attorney General and what engagement he intends to undertake with the fisheries communities before coming back to the Dáil,” concluded Deputy Gallagher.