Liadh Ní Riada MEP: Minister Simon Coveney refusing to meet the only Irish MEP on European fisheries committee
Liadh Ní Riada the Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland South has strongly criticised the Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Simon Coveney, for ignoring her repeated requests for a one-to-one meeting to discuss the situation in Irish fisheries.
In expressing her frustration, Ní Riada stated that such an engagement is of vital importance to meeting the challenges facing fishermen throughout the island.
Ní Riada said;
"It is incredible that Minister Simon Coveney has been long ignoring my requests for a meeting considering that he is the Minister for the Marine, and I am the only Irish MEP on the European committee for fisheries.
"To put things into perspective, the European Commissioner for Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, was more than happy to meet me face-to-face recently for a productive discussion. Sadly, Ireland's own Minister refuses to do so.
"There are pressing issues that we both need to discuss such as; how the absence of a commercial quota restricts sustainable recreational practices and the ´catch and release´ programs. Furthermore, the national bodies are failing to properly monitor and conserve eel stocks leading to mass kills due to incompetency. This is happening despite an eel fishing ban by the state.
"I also want to discuss a Single Boat Payment plan with the Minister. I want to raise concerns about the fact that around 87% of whitefish quotas in Irish waters have been given to 23 large vessels. This negatively affects the quota portion for smaller fishermen and puts Irish fisheries at further risk of monopolisation.
“The is a litany of pressing issues which demands a constructive engagement between the Minister and I.
“The Minister’s refusal to meet is sending out an appalling message to Ireland’s fishermen.
“I would not like to pre-judge the Minister’s reasons for refusing to meet with me but, for the sake of our fishing communities, I am once again calling on him to make the time do so.
"Simon Coveney should do the right thing and agree to a proper one-one-one meeting as a matter of priority.”