Thursday, 29 April 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Fishery Harbour Centres
I look forward to it. I thank Deputies Ó Cathasaigh, Shanahan and Cullinane. As I said earlier, it is good to see the Waterford Deputies working together. The Minister of State, Deputy Butler, has spoken to me personally on this matter, as have the three Deputies. They have all also spoken to me on a number of fisheries issues pertinent to the county. I acknowledge all of their representations in that regard. I certainly look forward to visiting the county whenever time and the easing of restrictions allow. It has unfortunately not been possible as yet due to the Covid restrictions. I will have virtual engagements with the fisheries community and with Oireachtas Members over the two or three weeks with a view to engaging and connecting with all fishers and with representatives and stakeholders in coastal areas and the marine sector. I look forward to that.
The argument has been well made. The strategic importance of Dunmore East is very relevant in this regard. Certainly, when one looks at the map of Ireland, it is a strategically appropriate place for any additional designation. As I said, when I made the initial designations after Brexit, I did so in immediate response to the Brexit situation. I had to take into account the various pressures on the control authority at that time. I also took a significant look at the various landing patterns in different ports in making my designations. That was central to the assignments and designations I made. As I pointed out in my contribution, the number of landings by Northern Irish-registered UK vessels at Dunmore East is small and has been so over the last two or three years. Nonetheless, it is a strategically important location and, in coming to review it, I will certainly keep that in mind. The point was also made that there is Sea Fisheries Protection Agency, SFPA, infrastructure and offices in place, which is also an important consideration in this regard.
I thank the three Deputies and my ministerial colleague, Deputy Butler, for bringing this to my attention and for working together on behalf of the county. I will certainly continue to engage with them in seeking to make progress on this matter.