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Study on the social and economic impact of penalty points reveals lack of transparency - Liadh Ní Riada MEP

19 February, 2016 - by Liadh Ní Riada MEP

Sinn Féin MEP for Ireland-South, Liadh Ní Riada, has welcomed the presentation of her requested study on the social and economic impact of penalty points in the European Parliament´s fisheries committee this week.

Ní Riada said;

"This study which I commissioned last year, has highlighted a number of issues.

"One of the most significant issues is the lack of transparency and accessibility on data collection.

"This lack of transparency has hindered progress along with the consolidation and gathering of accurate statistics.

"The report acknowledges those constraints and it is important that those constraints are challenged.

"I also cautiously welcome the Commission's statement this week in the committee that they are reviewing the application of the penalty points system.

"The statement on the study confirms that this is a pressing issue and reaffirms it as a source of heated debate that fishermen have been rightfully vocal about, especially in Ireland.

"There was consensus that the current system does not improve the poor economic situation for small-scale fishermen, especially those with a single family owned vessel.

"Punitive sanctioning has a much more negative and amplified affect for fishing families and their small-scale operations, whilst large-scale vessels operated by large multi-nationals can much easily overlook and overcome the effects of sanctions."

A Member of the Committee for Fisheries in the European Parliament, Ní Riada continued,

"To put it simply, small fishing vessels are more adversely impacted by infringement procedures; the family who owns one small fishing vessel are the ones who really irreversibly suffer if their license is permanently revoked.

"To make matters worse in that situation they would find it near impossible to also sell their boat as penalty points are transferred to the new owner.

"This a cause of great distress for fishing families and their communities, it also discourages young people from getting involved in the industry, especially those with the ambition of buying and crewing their own vessel.

"These facts have been highlighted on numerous occasions through the years by Martin Ferris TD and the excellent work he has done as party spokesperson for Agriculture, Food, Marine and Rural Affairs.

"As long as these serious problems remain unresolved within the fishing industry, Martin Ferris and I will continue to campaign and raise awareness on these issues." ENDS

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