Tel: 074 9736899 | Mail:

“While some sing the praises of the EU, Irish fishermen can only offer a lament.”

Independent TD for Cork South-West Michael Collins has said that while Ireland has benefited in some respects from membership of the EU, it is also true to say that a full assessment of the EU’s role must take into account the devastating impact of its fisheries policies on Irish fishing communities down through the decades.

Deputy Collins was speaking after he contributed to a series of statements in the Dáil to mark Europe Day-the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s EU membership.

The Independent TD went on to say that “successive Irish Governments have failed on every conceivable level to protect the financial interests of the fisheries sector from negotiation processes that have wiped out or in some cases heavily diminished the quotas available to the Irish fishing fleet, while simultaneously allowing foreign vessels a free hand in our native waters”:

“There are fishermen and fisherwomen out there who use the phrase ‘the EU’ like a curse; such is the devastation they feel it has wrought on their livelihoods and their communities,” said Deputy Collins.

“They look around and see increasing levels of decommissioning of boats and reduced or absent quotas and they wonder when they are ever going to see some of the so-called benefits of being a member of the EU.”

“The history of Irelands involvement in the EU is not entirely dark, I will be the first to accept that. But I also think that no fair analysis can avoid the fact that as time has gone on, we have moved away from the original founding vision of a collaborative economic community and towards a dominating political union where small nations like Ireland are squeezed out.”

“Irish fisheries has been badly served right from the get-go of the EU project. That approach must be reversed. It is way past time for our fishermen and fisherwomen to have a share in the benefits that so many others have enjoyed for so long,” Deputy Collins concluded.