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Huge Anger In The Industry

There is intense anger in the fishing industry over the outcome of the Brexit Agreement and its impact. The full impact is still being assessed, but Taoiseach Micheál Martin has admitted that the Irish fishing industry will be “badly hit”.

Huge reductions in the mackerel and prawn quotas in particular will cause very serious financial losses and hit employment.

The attitude of the Taoiseach, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney and the Marine Minister, Charlie McConalogue, is deeply resented to judge from the reaction in all sectors.

“It could have been worse if there had been no agreement…. The deal does impact negatively, but non-deal would have been significantly worse, …There will have to be diversification in some of the leading fishing communities…” were amongst the comments from the politicians.

At an online meeting with industry representatives over the Christmas period, they promised “engagement to work through this,” but the suggestion of a tie-up scheme and decommissioning is being seen, as one PO put it “as a way to get rid of fishermen, clear out the Irish industry and leave the other EU countries to once again benefit while Irish fishermen are destroyed.”

“What they are saying is we will tie-up your boats first, then get rid of you altogether and that will solve the problem, everyone else can benefit, we will give money to fishing for a while and no concern for the end of an industry,” was the summary of another industry representative.

“Once again it seems the government is satisfied to make fishing and the coastal communities suffer while the rest of the nation doesn’t take the same hit,” the Marine Times was told.

There is particular anger against the Taoiseach who said the deal “overall is good for Ireland, we have avoided a significant negative to economic recovery, even though there will be a devastating impact on fishing.”

Sean O’Donoghue, CEO Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation, said the Brexit deal demonstrated “the duplicitous nature” of the negotiations which had “shredded repeated guarantees given to Irish fishermen.”