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Ferris demands charges against Waterford fisherman be dropped

13 October, 2003

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fishing, Martin Ferris TD has strongly criticised the arrest last night of Michael Crossan, skipper of the Sea Queen, of Waterford. The boat was detained as the vessel has not yet been licensed despite the fact that Mr Crossan was merely attempting to transfer his licence and tonnage to the Sea Queen from two vessels he owned previously. The difficulties may have arisen due to the Department having over-allocated tonnage to some of the larger vessels in the fleet.

Deputy Ferris said: "Last nights arrest of Waterford fisherman Michael Crossan is absolutely outrageous and completely unjustified. I am calling on Minister Dermot Ahern to ensure that the charges against him are not pursued as they are the consequence of factors outside of Mr Crossan's control. It is a farcical situation when someone who is attempting to earn their living is prevented from doing so by the restrictions being placed on the Irish fishing fleet, compounded by bureaucratic delays. This latest case once again highlights the urgency for the Department to renegotiate the entire basis of the way in which Irish fishing is treated under the Common Fisheries Policy".

Deputy Ferris also indicated his opposition to any softening of the position regarding the defence of the Irish Box conservation area, which is being discussed at Luxembourg today.

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