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Ferris criticises use of Justice Bill against fishermen

5 July, 2007

The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, has strongly criticised the use of provisions in the Criminal Justice Bill against fishermen in several ports around the coast. He was responding to raids conducted by the Garda National Investigation Bureau on boats and homes in Dingle, Castletownbeare, Killybegs and Galway. The raids were in connection with allegations of over-fishing.

Deputy Ferris said today, "The use of legislation designed to tackle serious crime against fishermen is a direct consequence of the 2006 Fisheries Act. At the time I pointed out that the failure to deal with breaches of fishing regulations through administrative sanctions was in effect criminalising fishermen. While no-one disputes the need to monitor and regulate the sector the use of Gardai rather than fishery officers and raids on peoples homes has exactly that consequence."]

"I would also make the point that the failure of successive governments to protect the sector against foreign fleets and the consequences of the Common Fisheries Policy has placed Irish fishermen in an extremely difficult position in which they are finding it difficult to survive. The current Government would be far better served tackling these issues rather than engaging in punitive actions against Irish fishermen." ENDS

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