a time of instant communication, available through so many systems
of modern technology, the single greatest difficulty, regularly
identified in commerce, industry, the economy and in personal relationships
is ensuring effective communication.
a time when the fishing industry faces its greatest challenge since
the disaster that EU Accession visited upon its future, our government
administrators do not appear to have learned the lesson of history.
lesson is that the Irish Government, Ministers, senior politicians
and civil servants, gave away the wealth of the richest waters in
Europe to the economic benefit of other nations by arrogant, ignorant
and contemptuous dismissal of the economic importance of the fishing
importance of communication with the industry was dismissed. It
didnt exist. Irish government negotiators showed no respect
for fishermen or the industry.
far as the government was concerned, its only value was as a bargaining
chip to get benefits for farmers.
is no evidence that the present Government considers the existing
fishing industry to be at great risk in the front line of the economic
fallout of Brexit, so a similar disaster as happened in EU Accession,
could be on the horizon.
Green Party at its annual conference in Waterford last month called
on the Government to re-negotiate the Common Fisheries Policy because
of the problems it has created for Ireland. The Party also said
the Government should protect Irish waters from rapacious super
trawler fleets by fully resourcing the Naval Service and the
a lot of hope can be held out for re-negotiating the CFP, but at
least it was a public statement by a political party about the industry
and communicated a message.
I can count on one hand the number of politicians who have shown
any genuine interest in fisheries and the coastal communities. They
and their parties have not conveyed such a message in strong public
an island nation why is fishing in its widest sense, offshore and
inshore wild fisheries as well as aquaculture, which together comprise
the seafood industry, not at the forefront of national concern?
Ministers, politicians, industrial leaders, devote a lot of attention
to promoting foreign, direct investment. FDI is important, but foreign
companies setting up in Ireland extract full return for the jobs
they provide through returning profits to their international shareholders.
These jobs can and have been taken away at the whim of international
managements when they perceive the possibility of higher profits
by moving to other jurisdictions.
governments have protected their fishing and maritime resources.
Iceland and Denmark, for example, a big nation and a small one,
by keeping these natural resources out of the hands of the EU which,
in practice, has colonised Irish waters for the benefit
of larger EU Member States.
physically, Ireland is peripheral to the EU, in fishing terms it
has been a goldmine from which EU quota regulations extracted massive
economic profits for the larger EU fishing nations.
So we come back to the issue of communication.
Department of the Marine organised an afternoon seminar in Dublin
about Brexit, where Assistant Secretary General in the Department
of the Marine, Cecil Beamish, told industry representatives that
it was imperative that the Irish position was presented as a united
effort to ensure a common voice. This because Brexit poses
a serious set of particular threats to the industry.
While praised for co-operation with industry representatives during
the December EU quota negotiations, the Departments administration
is more noted for slavish adherence to EU diktats and support of
strict regulatory enforcement against Irish fishermen, compared
with non-Irish, rather than effective communication on a level which
would recognise Irish fishermen as equals with the Department in
the successful operation of the industry.
is another side the industry needs more effective communication
within itself and a united voice to face the challenges of Brexit.
Despite efforts over the years and one short period of joint co-operation,
unity has not been a notable asset. The current disagreement between
Killybegs and Castletownbere over mackerel allocations does not
bode well in this regard.
producer, processing, exporting and catching sectors, I am told
that a collective, united approach is necessary at all levels of
the industry and with government to deal with Brexit. If Irish and
EU Member State vessels are excluded from UK waters by Brexit arrangements,
there will be increased pressure on European stocks and very much
on Irish waters.
to industry sources, Ireland shares 47 of 50 TAC quotas with the
UK and the Hague Preferences could also become an issue.
much effective communication is there on these fisheries issues
and others which will arise during Brexit?
Department officials value, understand and respect fishermen?
much as fishermen need a united voice, the Department needs to learn
the lesson of history and communicate effectively with the industry.
That means communication and mutual co-operation, not dictation
and that is a rule of effective communication.