No Resolution To Penalty Points Controversy
There has not been a positive resolution to the Penalty Points issue from the “Webex Introductory Meeting,” as it was described by the Department of the Marine, between the fishing industry and Minister Charlie McConalogue, held on Wednesday last.
The Department issued a statement afterwards which said: “The Minister listened to industry concerns regarding the Statutory Instrument on points for the serious infringement of the Common Fisheries Policy. The Minister explained Ireland’s position and noted the commitment of all to effective controls to protect the valuable fishing resources in Ireland’s 200-miles zone and the need for the country to meet its EU obligations in the area.”
The statement quoted Minister McConalogue: “I was very glad to have the opportunity today to meet with the fishing industry representatives. We had a very useful exchange on the challenges for the sector posed by the UK’s exit from the EU and the Statutory Instrument on Points. I intend to continue this close engagement with the fishing industry going forward.”
However, that does not appear to be the full story.
The MARINE TIMES has been told of a feeling of deep disappointment within the industry at the response of the Minister to the Penalty Points issue. It appears to underline the belief already expressed that, as with the previous Minister and the Taoiseach’s re-introduction of Penalty Points, this Minister “is again being led by Department officials” one source said.
When in Opposition Minister McConalogue, on behalf of Fianna Fáil who then led political rejection of Penalty Points, accused previous Minister Michael Creed (FG) of “risking irreversible damage to a sector which supports 16,000 jobs.” He also said: “The Minister needs to listen to the stakeholders in the industry. He is in a position of leadership and needs to bring people in this sector with him.”