Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle says new legislation will further destroy livelihoods of Donegal fishermen


Thomas Pringle TD – March 28th, 2019


Independent TD for Donegal Thomas Pringle has today spoken out against the Sea Fisheries (Amendment) Bill put forward by the Government in the Dáil today. [Thursday March 28th]

The Bill seeks to give reciprocal rights to boats owned and operated in Northern Ireland and Ireland to fish within Ireland’s 0-6 mile zone. However, Deputy Pringle has said the Bill is “regressive and seeks to legalise practices which have to date devastated small time fishermen in Donegal and across Ireland”.

Deputy Pringle speaking in the Dáil said “this Bill is not fit for purpose and was sitting in a drawer for the guts of a year with Fine Gael doing nothing about it. Suddenly the jaws of Brexit approach and Fine Gael sloppily bring this Bill forward without any consultation to the small fishermen it will most affect.

“The Bill retrospectively legalises exploitation of a number of dwindling fish resources such as mussel seed and clams which have been decimated by Dutch fishermen in particular registering in Northern Ireland for the purpose of accessing mussel seed outside their home jurisdiction.

“Meanwhile, small fishermen in Donegal and elsewhere watch as their livelihoods are further attacked and Fine Gael stands waving these boats on.

“For that reason I proposed a number of amendments which sought to ban practices which threaten the livelihoods of small time fishermen so as to protect their livelihoods from further damage.

“I also included a clause which would see only those not ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland and the Republic excluded fishermen from other jurisdictions fishing despite not being ordinarily resident there.

“As expected Fine Gael voted down my amendment citing this was not the legislation to deal with the management and regulation of resources or species. However, I believe the opportunity was there to address the issue of over exploitation of resources as well as the many other outstanding issues brought to light today.

“The rushing through of this legislation is typical of Fine Gael who chose not to consult with all stakeholders until it was too late leading to legislation which does not adequately address the ongoing issues facing small time fishermen in Donegal and across the country” concludes Pringle.


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