Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Sustainable Seaweed Harvesting: Motion [Private Members]
How do you make halves of nothing?
I welcome Mr. Pat Connolly and his concerned friends and neighbours to the Visitors Gallery for this important debate. They came all the way from Bantry. The motion suggests the prioritisation of traditional harvesters, exemptions for traditional harvesters harvesting under a certain amount and the protection of traditional harvesting rights from commercial interests in the future. The Minister of State said he wants the big harvesters as well as the traditional harvesters. He cannot have both because he is trying to carry two sides of the road but anyone whoever tried to do that finished up in the middle of nowhere. He will fall between two stools. There is only one way here and that is to protect the traditional small farmers who are also small fishermen. The Minister of State knows what this will do. Granting a licence to rip the guts out of Bantry Bay will cause coastal erosion, and it will cause trouble for tourism and fishing, and for small farmers and small fishermen. I ask him to revoke the licence and not to carry on with this lunacy. I also ask Fianna Fáil, which is supporting and propping up the Government parties, to put it up to them to change this racket that they are at and to revoke the licence because this is a serious matter. We need fair trade, we need fair play and I ask the Government to revoke the licence and not to do anything like this in the future. Bantry harbour is only 20 miles from Kilgarvan.