11th June 2003
Ferris questions Government role in Atlantic Dawn
The Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD raised the issue of the licensing of the Atlantic Dawn at Question Time in the Dáil this afternoon. Deputy Ferris tabled the question following a number of queries from fishermen, and in the light of last week's RTE Prime Time exposé of the role played by senior Government figures in securing the license in 2001.
Deputy Ferris asked the Minister for the Marine, Dermot Ahern, if he would not agree that the decision by the then Minister Frank Fahey to issue a temporary merchant licence to the Atlantic Dawn, in clear and conscious breach of EU law, needed to be explained.
"Would he also agree that the unprecedented level of lobbying by members of the Government, including An Taoiseach, and EU Commissioner David Byrne, on behalf of one private individual, seriously undermined what one participant in last week's Prime Time programme termed Ireland's "moral case" regarding fishing rights.
"Could he also explain to the House why one individual is able to attract such high level support when other fishermen find it next to impossible to get explanations regarding their own queries regarding licence applications, and why decisions such as the current proposal to increase Harbour rates are brought forward without consulting the fishing organisations".
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