11 June 2002
Fishing proposals must be vigorously challenged by the government
Sinn Fein TD for Kerry North Martin Ferris has described the proposals to allocate 90% of fishing rights in Irish waters to France and Spain as "evidence of the inequalities that already exist within the European Union and the determination of the union to bow to pressure from the larger nations at the expense of smaller ones." Deputy Ferris was commenting in advance of a meeting on the future of the fisheries industry in Luxembourg today.
Deputy Ferris said:
"It is clear from these proposals that Ireland's already small fishing industry is under threat of extinction. These proposals must not be allowed to go through. The Irish government must not allow themselves to be browbeaten into accepting the unacceptable. Allocating 90% of fishing rights in Irish waters to France and Spain provides clear evidence of the inequalities that already exist within the European Union. It is obvious that the Union is determined to bow to pressure from these larger nations at the expense of smaller ones, like Ireland. For decades both the Spanish and the French have constantly over fished and illegally fished the waters of western Europe. Now they are to be rewarded for this by being given excessive rights to Irish waters. It is absolutely unjustifiably and must be vigorously challenged by the government."
Deputy Ferris also went on to describe the downgrading of the Department of the Marine after the election as a "appalling retrograde step taken by the Taoiseach which will undoubtedly weaken our country's negotiating capabilities at European level." He said: "With the impending approach of a second Nice Treaty, this move will provide further confirmation we are continuing to cede sovereignty to larger European powers." Deputy Ferris demanded the reinstatement of a full ministry to deal with the fisheries and the marine so as to protect the interests of those employed in the industry.
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