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EDITORIAL:
Will the EU Stand By the Irish Fishing Industry?

An agreement for continued fishing access to UK waters is vital for the Irish industry.

That has been declared a priority by the Government in the Brexit negotiations.

Mackerel and Prawns are particularly important for the Irish fleet, with estimates that as much as 40 per cent of Irish catches of these species come from what would be regarded as British waters. The EU has taken the view that Britain will need a deal, in order to be able to continue exporting fish into Europe and that, without it, there would not be sufficient marketing opportunities for the UK fleet. But it has been reported that British negotiators are increasingly confident that markets can be found for all of their fleet’s catches.

As negotiations have appeared to go backwards, the approach dictated by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his confreres seems increasingly to be an ideological one, based on the mantra of ‘taking back control’ and thus gaining domestic political kudos.

In the Dáil this week the increasing concern that Johnson is attempting to exclude fisheries from any trade deal with the EU was raised. Responding for the government, Tanaiste Simon Coveney admitted that negotiations about fishing were going to get very difficult. He said: “The fishing fleet must be kept fully informed and, if necessary, supported with assistance packages “as we await what we hope will be a fair outcome for all sides in terms of the fisheries element.”

Will the EU stand by Ireland? Will the EU Commission's Task Force accede to British demands on fisheries?

These are very important issues for the fishing industry.