Irish Fishermen at Breaking Point as They are Second Class Citizens on the Irish Seas – Tóibín & Codd
Speaking at the fishing protest at the Convention Centre in Dublin today, Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín, and Aontú Cllr in Wexford, Jim Codd, have slammed the government for selling out Irish fishermen to Brussels, and have called on the government to stand up to Brussels and allow these fishermen to work to earn a living.
An Teachta Tóibín: “Aontú stands in solidarity with the Irish fishermen, who have seen their sector gutted in recent years. Irish fish and fishing rights have been handed over lock, stock and barrel to other countries. Indeed, many countries are doing far better out of Irish waters, than Irish fishermen themselves. The Irish fishing industry was the sacrificial lamb to protect European interests and give the Tories a victory in negotiations. According to Departmental projections, Ireland’s coastal share of fish will shrink by at least 15% in the next 6 years. The mean reduction in fishing quota per EU Member State is 9.83% - Ireland’s reduction significantly surpasses that loss. In fact Ireland’s fishing industry is the joint highest loser with Germany. Now after being hammered by Dublin and Brussels, Irish fishermen are now being forced to weigh on the pier to suffice some nonsensical box-ticking exercise Irish fishermen are being singled out for. No other fishing sector has been so poorly treated by its own government and by the EU – it is an absolute disgrace. I spoke to one Skipper who travelled 26 hours from Killybegs around the top of the country to come down to protest in Dublin here today.”
Aontú Fishing Spokesperson Cllr Jim Codd also addressed the Demonstration. He said: “Rural Ireland has had to come up the Liffey to be heard. We demand that the ruling classes of Ireland, the big parties, get out of their ivory towers and listen to Rural Ireland and fishermen. The crisis in fishing is so profound, that Irish fishing boats are changing their Irish flags for Spanish ones to increase their quota. Meanwhile 25-30 juggernauts of Irish fish are leaving this country weekly – unchecked. To put this into perspective: in Monkfish, France has 59% of the quota in Irish waters. In Irish waters. Ireland has 7%. In haddock, Ireland has only 22% - France 67%. In Hake, Ireland has 6% - France 45%. And the most laughable of all, in Sole – where these boats behind us can catch one box a month – Belgium has the vast majority of the quota. Meanwhile, Irish fishermen cannot catch one fish in the North Sea. This crisis is beyond belief, it has actually reached breaking point.
The men, women and children I serve rely on these boats for their living. We need no more glib, lip service. Now we have a farcical situation where these same fishermen after being thrown about at sea, and in gale winds, they have their fish gutted, iced and steamed for home. Now officials tell them to unbox and weigh them on the pier – only then to be reboxed, brought up 200 yards and weighed again – as it always has been. These men and women are at breaking point.”