Fianna Fáil TD for Cork South West Margaret Murphy O’Mahony says any restrictions placed on Irish vessels fishing around Rockall would be completely unacceptable and has called on Ministers Coveney and Creed to engage with the Scottish and British authorities to resolve the issue.

Deputy Murphy O’Mahony said, “The threat from the Scottish government that it will take “enforcement action” and deploy vessels in the Rockall area against Irish vessels found fishing within the 12 mile zone around the island is completely unwarranted. Vessels from Cork, Donegal and Louth have fished in the Rockall zone for many decades catching haddock, squid and other species and under the Common Fisheries Policy, Ireland vessels have a right to fish the Rockall Haddock quota in these waters.

“Despite the British government attempting to claim ownership of Rockall since 1955, the Irish government has never recognised this position and in fact the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea Conference states that, “rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf.” Rockall falls into this classification.

“Fishermen from Cork need to be protected against any threatened action by the Scottish authorities. I am calling on Minister Simon Coveney and Minister Michael Creed to engage with the UK government in an attempt to restore calm to the volatile situation at intra government level.

“Cork fishing communities must be protected by the government here and this declaration by the Scottish government must be challenged at the highest level”, concluded Deputy Murphy O’Mahony.