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Liadh Ní Riada MEP and Irish fishermen meet EU Policy makers in Brussels

3 February, 2015 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South Liadh Ní Riada today welcomed a delegation of Irish Fishermen to Brussels to meet with key policy makers on the difficulties that they face in making a sustainable living and on other issues impacting the industry.

The delegation included fishermen from all around the Irish Coast including from Dunmore East, the Waterford Estuary, Kilmore Quay, Youghal, Union Hall, Castletownbere, Fenit and Arklow.

Sinn Féin’s Dáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD and Assembly Spokesperson Oliver McMullan MLA also accompanied the group.

In a series of roundtable discussions, the delegation met with with representatives of the Fisheries Commissioner and the EU Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, including the Director in charge of the Atlantic, Outermost Regions and Arctic, the Head of Unit for the Common fisheries Policy, the Commission's Fisheries Scientific and Technical Policy Officer, and the EMFF, which provides funding for the industry and coastal zones.

Speaking from the European Parliament, Ní Riada said;

“Today in Brussels, Irish fishermen had an opportunity to outline their concerns to the people who make the laws, regulations and policies that impact on their lives and livelihoods, and crucially to illustrate to those policy-makers the human cost of their decisions. 

“The reality is that regulations drafted at EU level rarely take into account local realities. It is a fundamental mistake to think that the "one size fits all" approach works .This is mainly because the nature and structure of the European fishing industry varies from region to region.

“It is this flawed thinking that has produced regulations that are bureaucratic, wasteful and that have failed to protect the environment and fishing stock.

“Irish fishermen need to be defended. They are the backbone of many coastal communities, and present a sustainable model of fishing. 

"Fishermen are natural custodians of their fisheries, and can see the state of fish stocks, up close and on a regular basis. They have the knowledge, expertise and interest in maintaining stocks .

“Irish fishermen have been struggling as direct result of the disparity underpinning these regulations. I was inspired by the manner in which members of the delegation presented their position to policy makers. It is clear that they are the real experts.

Speaking on the results of today’s series of meetings, Ní Riada stated;

“The main thing to come out of today’s meetings is the call, from all concerned, for the EU Commission to sanction an independent economic and social impact study into the impact of regulations on Ireland’s fishing industry.

“The study would then be used as a base from which to examine the EU wide industry.

“Such a study would complement a process of direct engagement between EU policy makers and the fishermen in member states. 

“These are crucial steps in transforming the European Union into a system that works for the betterment of citizens.

“Sinn Féin was proud to stand with Irish Fishermen today in Brussels.”

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