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Questions, Confusion, Irony – All About Penalty Points Again

Extracts From Marine Times Editorial – October Edition

It has taken only a few weeks to break the relationship between the third Marine Minister appointed by the current Government and the industry. The reintroduction of Penalty Points for alleged illegal fishing is the source of the breakdown.

There is no disagreement that a Penalty Points system is necessary. The EU insists upon it and Ireland could face fines and the denial of funding if such a system is not introduced. But there agreement ends.

What is at issue is the format and content of the new Statutory Instrument which Taoiseach Micheál Martin signed without consultation or discussion with the fishing industry. At the time he was acting in the role of Marine Minister. There was, subsequently a “spin” put out by Fianna Fáil sources that he had been blindsided by Department of the Marine officials who did not brief him sufficiently about the content of the SI.

It is ironic that ,when opposing the last attempted introduction of Penalty Points, the current Minister, Charlie McConalogue, told then Minister, Michael Creed, that he should listen to the industry. Reasonable discussion and debate with the industry might have avoided the current situation.

• Read the full Editorial Comment in the October edition of the Marine Times in the shops now

SHOOTING SEALS – ONLY PERMITS ISSUED ARE FOR ANGLING

“Fishermen” is a generic description widely used, but which can need concise qualification. The need for accuracy was highlighted in the controversy this week about a report that the government was considering issuing licences to “fishermen” to shoot seals because of damage to fish, mostly in Cork and Kerry.

The National Inshore Fishermen’s Association said that any such ‘shooting’ needs a State permit and pointed out: “Recently the only Section 42 permits have been issued to IFI (Inland Fisheries Ireland) to protect the angling resource.” And it asked: “Are people ok with angling when it involves shooting seals?”

We will be covering this issue further in our November issue