Thursday, May 7, 2009

Local Fishermen Meet with Mary Lou McDonald and Martin Ferris as Livelihoods Threatened

Representatives of Sinn Féin held a meeting in Howth on 30th April with local fishermen from County Fingal to discuss the issues currently threatening the livelihood and culture of those in the fishing industry. The meeting was attended by Mary Lou McDonald, Dublin Sinn Féin MEP and European candidate for 2009, and Martin Ferris TD, party spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development and Marine and Natural Resources. Local election candidates Fergus Byrne (Balbriggan Ward) and Colm Ó Murchadha (Howth / Malahide Ward) were also present.

Local fishermen outlined the crisis facing them, as severe restrictions have been placed upon them regarding the number of days they are allowed to fish – two days in a three month period. Some have had their boats decommissioned but have been told they are not entitled to unemployment payments as they were self-employed. Martin Ferris said “The new EU laws introduced have all but sounded the death knell for another substantial section of the Irish fishery sector. A further indication, if needed, that the real object of EU policy is to close down the Irish fishing industry. The Common Fisheries Policy which has been the bedrock of the disastrous mismanagement of the Irish fishery since this state joined the EU. Unless and until an Irish Government reverses the shameful sell out made at that time, we will be merely tinkering around and allowing Brussels to engineer the effective liquidation of the Irish fishing sector. And yet there seems to be little political will here to demand a radical overhaul of the Common Fisheries Policy.”

Mary Lou McDonald undertook to investigate the ownership status of, and difficulties in, Howth Fish Market, which was purchased with EU funds. She will pose questions in the European Parliament about the matter, and pledged her commitment to explore it fully, in her capacity as an MEP.

Local election candidates Fergus Byrne (Balbriggan Ward) and Colm Ó Murchadha (Howth / Malahide Ward) stated that they were glad to lend their support to the local fishermen, and assured them of Sinn Féin’s continued defense of their cause. ENDS

PR Department - Balbriggan Sinn Féin / Howth & Malahide Sinn Féin

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