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EDITORIAL:
When Will The Nation Wake-Up To The Importance Of The Fishing Industry?

The arrest of another non/Irish fishing boat in the past week off West Cork for alleged breaches of the fisheries regulations and the pictures posted on social media at the weekend of 13 lorries lined up at Castletownbere to load catches from French and Spanish boats landing there, to be taken out of Ireland without benefit to the Irish economy, underlines again the tragedy of political and economic neglect of the vast potential in Irish fishing waters.

The ‘temporary tie-up’ scheme offered by the Government does not appear to have met with a wide acceptance in the fishing industry. Overall, it has been difficult to obtain any comments which could be published!

We await further developments about this, while foreign vessels continue to fish extensively in Irish waters, all of which raises again the question – When will this nation wake-up to the importance of the fishing industry?

The Cork daily newspaper, THE ECHO, highlighted this in a leading article editorial which challenged the political parties negotiating for agreement on forming a government. Under the headline: “Island nation – let us benefit” it said: “Historic fishing rights allocations within the EU have left Ireland, an island nation, severely disadvantaged, which has been terribly unfair to our fishing and coastal communities. In an era of flux, after Brexit, the time has now come for Ireland to secure a better deal.”

We agree.

In what is described as “the new normal” in the times ahead following Covid 19, a “new normal” for the Irish fishing industry should be a priority for the new Irish government That should be renegotiation of fishing rights in Irish waters, with priority and the largest share for the Irish national fleet, bringing an end to what was seen on the pier at Castletownbere last weekend and which has been seen there too often.