Fianna Fáil has called on the Irish Government to work to secure the future viability of the fisheries industry in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
The call was made by Fianna Fáil’s Brexit Spokesperson Stephen Donnelly TD. Deputy Donnelly was in Donegal this week meeting with representatives of cross border enterprises and fisheries alongside Deputy Charlie McConalogue and Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher.
Deputy Donnelly has said the situation for Ireland’s fisheries sector is particularly severe following confirmation from the UK Undersecretary of State for the Department for Exiting the European Union, Robin Walker, that his Government is examining ways to take back control of its territorial waters.
Deputy Donnelly said, “Brexit presents one of the biggest risks ever faced by Irish fishermen, coastal communities and exporters. One third of all Irish landings currently come from UK waters. Brexit negotiations have the potential to put up major barriers to this portion of the national catch, and clear and decisive action is needed to secure the sectors viability.
“Fisheries and trade must be linked in phase 2 of Brexit negotiations. Fisheries must be considered as part of the overall trade deal to protect our access to fishing grounds and our quota share. Irish access to the UK fisheries cannot be left up in the air.
“Without dedicated capital investment and protecting Ireland’s fishing access and quotas, the 11,000 who are employed in the sector could see their livelihood’s destroyed. The Government must put in place a dedicated sectoral response plan for fisheries. Waiting for the completion of negotiations before taking action is simply not good enough,” concluded Deputy Donnelly.