Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Fisheries, Pat the Cope Gallagher TD, has said that it is deeply disappointing that the UK Government has decided to withdraw from the London Fisheries Convention.

“While I am not overly surprised by this decision in itself, I am surprised at its announcement at such an early stage in the process.

“The UK Government is seeking to negotiate fisheries in isolation. However, the Irish Government must insist that the issue is discussed as part of the overall trade negotiations.

“It must be remembered that the U.K. exports 62% of its fish catch to the remaining 27 member states, so the trade element is a crucial component of negotiations on fisheries.

“When Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier visited Dublin a number of months ago, I raised this issue with him directly, and I found him to be very receptive to my concerns on post-Brexit fisheries issues.

“This convention pre-dates the entry of both Ireland and the UK into the European Economic Community, and provided all signatory counties with reciprocal fishing rights in each other’s waters.

“It’s clear that the UK Government’s commitment to a Hard Brexit now extends to ripping up any deal with neighbouring countries irrespective of the benefits.

“Minister Creed must ensure that Irish fishermen do not lose out. It’s obvious that this decision will have a much more negative impact on the Irish fishing industry than other countries due to our geographic proximity to UK territorial waters.

“The Irish Government must seek permission from the EU to secure a larger quota for the Irish fishing fleet due to it losing access to UK fishing waters,” concluded Gallagher.