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Ferris suspended from Dáil after angry exchanges over raids on Fishermen’s homes

19 May, 2009 - by Martin Ferris TD

Sinn Féin Fisheries Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD was today suspended from the Dáil after angry exchanges over raids on the homes of fishermen in West Cork.

Speaking after being suspended from the Dáil the North Kerry TD said that there were major questions to be answered regarding the manner in which the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency had carried out the raids.

The raids at Baltimore, Union Hall and Castletownbeare were, according to the SFPA, in pursuit of log books but Deputy Ferris claimed that they were more akin to criminal raids and that this was facilitated by changes to the Criminal Justice Act which gave the SFPA those powers.

Deputy Ferris said, "As I said at the time the Act was amended, these powers effectively criminalise people who are attempting to earn a livelihood in difficult circumstances. There are other ways in which to monitor fish catch and quota. The manner in which Irish fishermen are treated also stands in sharp contrast to the perceived leniency and lack of attention devoted to fishermen from other countries fishing, often illegally in Irish waters." ENDS

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