Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has announced that her proposal for an official EU fisheries mission to Cork was successfully approved by the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee this afternoon.
The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, has been campaigning for an official visit by the Committee to Cork for some time now.
“I am delighted that this mission has finally been granted approval and will go ahead in September,” she said.
“It is hugely important that we get across to the European Parliament just how poorly served Irish fishermen have been by the Irish Government and by the EU and the best way to do that is to get them to meet face to face.
“Therefor a key part of this visit will be a European delegation to meet with local fishermen, local authorities, researchers, coastal communities, cooperatives, SMEs and other stakeholders.
“With reform of the Common Fisheries Policy now inevitable this is the best opportunity to propose and implement positive changes and the key people who must be consulted on those reforms are the people who live and work in fishing families and coastal communities.
“What needs to happen now is for the Eurocrats in Brussels to engage with ordinary Irish fishermen on the ground. Historically there has been a serious lack of engagement by Irish and European authorities and I want this mission to be a turning point in that relationship.
“This delegation will not just benefit Cork but all of Ireland and will involve meetings with a variety of stakeholders, specifically fishermen across Munster, with Castletownbere being one of a number of key locations.
“We are now just awaiting final approval from the Bureau of the European Parliament for this mission. Considering Fine Gael have a seat in the Bureau I would urge them to put party politics aside and support this visit. It is far too important an opportunity to be squandered over having a dig at the opposition.
“There are numerous issues that need to be raised with the EU Fisheries Committee, there are special considerations that need to be made for Ireland post-Brexit, there is a long, long legacy of government and EU mistreatment of Irish fishermen and I want this delegation to be the starting point for the reform of those relationships, of the CFP and of the way our coastal communities are treated.”