Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle says maritime jurisdiction proposals need amending

Pringle says maritime jurisdiction proposals need amending

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said Government must be open to amendments to the bill on maritime jurisdiction, saying there has been no consultation or pre-legislative scrutiny on the important and wide-ranging bill.

Deputy Pringle said: “This is a significant piece of legislation, as part of a significant move around maritime planning and development and we need to be thinking strategically about this. Why spend so much time talking about climate action and climate change and leave our maritime jurisdiction as an afterthought?”

The deputy spoke during the Dáil debate last week on the Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2021, which aims to consolidate Ireland’s maritime jurisdiction legislation and provide for updates relating to recent international law developments.

Deputy Pringle has liaised with NGO representatives who raised concerns about the constitutionality of parts of the bill, about the provisions on orders, and on the approach to the Continental Shelf on the basis of designated areas within the Government’s discretion alone.

He said there are also significant jurisdictional issues around the loughs, issues exacerbated by Brexit and concerns around the upholding of Irish interests in Rockall, among other issues.

Deputy Pringle said: “We can’t discuss maritime legislation and international law without mentioning the €120 billion worth of fish that we gave the EU. Ireland allowed members of the European Union to take this huge amount of fish out of our waters prior to 2000. In my submission to the Seafood Sector Taskforce earlier this year, I said that the Government must ensure that our seafood sector receives its fair share of the quotas available to EU member states. It is well beyond time that the wrongs that were done to our fishing community as we negotiated to join the EU were corrected.

“I have been consistently reminding the Government that our negotiations on fishing were taken away from us, Denmark and the UK back in the first days of the EEC. This had the impact of directly hampering the west of Ireland’s development and led directly to Dublin-focussed development within Ireland that has hampered and hindered the development of Ireland since we joined the EU.

“Any promotion of a fleet tie-up scheme will be a direct recognition that the future of the fishing communities within Ireland is not a priority for Government and will confirm and show that the Government is intent on the decline and ending of those communities,” he said.