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Minister Tells Dáil He Will Meet Fishing Industry

“I will meet the sector next week,” Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue told Sinn Fein’s Spokesman on Fisheries and the Marine in the Dáil on Tuesday evening during an exchange between the two men about the Penalty Points controversy.

He indicated that he shared with the Deputy the “voice, contribution and what the sector has to say” on behalf of fishermen.

“They recognise the need for a Statutory Instrument,” he said and acknowledge that his party, Fianna Fáil, had engaged with fishermen during the previous controversy when the former Government had attempted to force Marine Department proposals through the Dáil but was defeated, an action led by FF. He defended the SI which the Taoiseach signed and which the industry has described as a “scandalous action” that made it “apoplectic,” saying that it “takes on board some of the amendments proposed, others were adjudicated as not being in compliance with ensuring that we can meet the requirements we are obliged to meet in order to comply with out obligations under the EU Common Fisheries Policy. It is essential that we have a good workable Statutory Instrument that meets our EU requirements and protects fishermen. I will be meeting their groups and listening to their concerns.”

No reference was made by the Minister about the Taoiseach, who signed the new SI, meeting the fishing industry.

Concern About SFPA Accountability

There are serious concerns about the lack of accountability of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority,” the Fisheries and Marine Spokesman of Sinn Fein told the Dáil during the same debate.

“A review is being carried out into that organisation, but it is yet to be published, so we do not know what recommendations it contains,” said Padraig MacLochlainn.

• There is more about this and the Penalty Points on the Podcast