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Greater all-Ireland co-operation needed to reverse decline in North’s fishing industry

21 August, 2007

Sinn Féin fishing spokesperson, South Down Assembly Member Cllr Willie Clarke, has called for greater all-Ireland co-operation to revitalise the local seafood industry.

Mr Clarke continued:

"People working in Irish fishing must have their say on the future of the local seafood industry so it is vitally important the industry can benefit from imaginative and workable ideas that reverse the extremely regressive policies of successive British administrations.

"We must work together to improve the plight of hard pressed fishing communities here in the north of Ireland and priority must be given to developing an integrated, all-Ireland approach to deal with this issue.

"No-one can doubt that the British Government has failed local fishing communities and we are faced with an industry that is on its knees because of successive quota restrictions and longer tie-up times.

"Fleet renewable subsidies in the South have attracted critical comparison from the North's fishing industry and many of the representatives who have participated in negotiations in Brussels view fleet renewal as an essential element of fleet restructuring.

"The potential of an all-Ireland dynamic in this area is immense. This would be best served through all-Ireland representation at EU level. I believe that the idea of an all-Ireland team negotiating agriculture or fisheries deals makes more sense than the Six Counties shackled with a British deal or the 26 counties negotiating a deal ending at the border. Creating an all-Ireland voice at an EU level must be a priority over the coming years." ENDS

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