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Marine Minister is short on details as Brexit contingency plans fail to include Fisheries and Marine

With Brexit looming state fails to prepare for no deal eventualities in marine.

Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher Leas Cheann Comhairle and Fianna Fáil Marine spokesperson has raised the issue of contingency planning for the entire Marine sector in the event of a no deal Brexit.

With the ever concerning lack of progress being made by the UK Parliament in terms of agreeing a final exit plan from the EU, and less and less time available to have an orderly exit from the European Union by the United Kingdom Government, there is now an immediate urgency and necessity on the Irish Government to prepare for every eventuality.

The Irish Government and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed in particular need to prepare for every eventuality, as recent as the 19th December 2018 the Government published their Brexit Contingency Action Plan but no reference was made to the Marine sector in that document added Pat the Cope.

It is little wonder then that the marine and sea food sector are getting edgy and nervous, as there is a genuine perception of lack of planning on the part of the Government to cater for the marine sector in terms of the Brexit negotiations stated Pat the Cope.

Over 60% of Irish Mackerel quota and 40% of nephrops are caught in UK waters each year, then access to these fishing grounds is essential for the Irish fishing fleet, similarly with Irish marine exports using the land bridge through the UK to access mainland European markets - an agreement is essential for the ongoing success of the Irish marine sector.

The Marine Minister in his reply, to my Dáil motion was completely lacking on detail and it is also self-evident that, to date no contingency planning has not taken place nor is there any strategy to counter act a no deal Brexit.

I called upon the Minister to immediately call a marine forum together involving all interested parties in order to best plan for the future. I also requested the Minister to work with other coastal states and to liaise with the EU Commission to put in place an emergency funding package to protect the Seafood sector.

The current proposal to redirect European Maritime and Fisheries Funding to compensate the marine sector will not suffice, as the terms and conditions of the EMFF are far too restrictive and insufficient to meet the demands which will be placed on it. It is therefore essential that an Emergency Fund be established added Pat the Cope.

It is essential that the Minister and the Government immediately take on board the genuine concerns of the entire Marine sector, it is also essential that greater consultation with the fisheries sector occurs and co-operation is obtained by the Government, but this can only be done by the Government and their willingness to engage with the sector.

To date the Government has completely failed to reach out, and furthermore they have also failed to prepare for every eventuality in terms of the ongoing Brexit negotiations – this must change in the final weeks leading up to 29th March concluded Pat the Cope.