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Ferris calls on Minister to meet fishermen

11 June, 2008

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD has called on the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Brendan Smith to meet directly with the Federation of Irish Fishermen to discuss the crisis facing the sector.

The Kerry North TD said that it is important that Minister Smith as well as Minister for State Tony Kileen are present at such a meeting in order to demonstrate that the Government is taking the issue seriously.

Deputy Ferris said, "While the current protests by fishermen were sparked by rising fuel prices, fishermen and their communities are now expressing the pent up frustration of years of deliberate mismanagement of the sector. That anger is entirely understandable.

"Fuel costs could be the straw that breaks the camel's back but that comes on the back of quota cuts, forced dumping of fish at sea, increased restrictions on fishing days, the criminalisation of fishermen in recent legislation and a perception that Brussels, with the connivance of the Irish Government, is intent on basically closing the entire Irish fishing sector down.

"Fishermen have had enough and the Government must react not only by meeting immediate concerns regarding fuel costs, but also by insisting on the root and branch reform of the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy. This country has lost billions of Euros through the scandalous quota system which has favoured foreign fleets over our own and the lost opportunity of having used this valuable resource to build a thriving domestic processing industry. It is time to call halt while there is still something to save." ENDS

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