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Dwyer - Irish fishing vessels being singled out for detention

7 June, 2003

Following representations made to him by Fishermen in county Wexford, Sinn Féin Cllr John Dwyer has called on the Junior Minister for the Marine, John Browne, to explain why Irish fishing vessels are being singled out for detention in Irish waters.

Speaking on Saturday Cllr Dwyer said:

"I have been approached by a number of fishermen in county Wexford lately who are greatly concerned at what clearly seems to be a deliberate policy, by the authorities, of detaining Irish fishing vessels for alleged offences in Irish waters.

"Over the past two years 63 Irish vessels have been detained in Irish waters, while the combined total of Spanish, British, French and Portugese amounts to just 21. This, despite the fact that Irish trawlers are limited to less than 20% of the total allowable catch around our coast. At present the number of Irish fishing vessels being detained is actually seven times greater than the number of Spanish vessels.

"This is a source of great anger to Irish fishermen, who feel that they have gained nothing from the whole EU project and indeed have seen their livelihoods threatened while fishing vessels from other EU countries have harvested our waters.

"I would ask the Junior Minister for the Marine, John Browne to explain the imbalance in the number of detentions of Irish vessels compared to other nationalities.

"Are the Irish authorities focussing on Irish trawlers and effectively turning a blind eye to the activities of other EU vessels? The evidence clearly points to a deliberate policy, on the part of the authorities, of targeting Irish fishing vessels in our own waters and this must be explained satisfactorily"ENDS

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