Dáil debates

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2021: Committee and Remaining Stages

 

Section 1 agreed to.

SECTION 2

9:27 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendment No. 1 is out of order.

Amendment No. 1 not moved.

Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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Sinn Féin has very serious concerns in regard to this legislation. We acknowledge that the national marine planning framework has been established and that a number of legislative provisions follow it. As we speak, however, fishermen from Donegal are being prevented from fishing in their traditional grounds around Rockall. Eamon Gilmore, a predecessor of the Minister, Deputy Coveney, in the Department of Foreign Affairs, signed an agreement with the then British ambassador, Dominick Chilcott, that was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas in 2014 but was never debated, scrutinised or voted on, for or against, in either House. As the Minister is aware, there was a Supreme Court decision in recent years that ruled that the voisinageagreement had no standing in Irish law because it did not come through the Houses. The Minister's colleague, the former Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Creed, introduced the Sea-Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2019 in reaction to that Supreme Court decision.

The 2014 agreement between the Irish and British Governments has no legal standing under our Constitution. Rather than putting that to the British Government and saying there is no legal basis for our agreeing that it can block Donegal fishermen from accessing their traditional fishing grounds in Rockall, the Minister has brought forward legislation that explicitly legislates for that 2014 agreement and gives legal imprimaturto the British claim to Rockall. I will go into this in more detail when we discuss later amendments. I have just given an introduction here; we will presently go through the matter forensically.

I want to put on the record that the Taoiseach's response to my question on this issue earlier today was an absolute disgrace. He denied that this legislation brings into legal effect the 2014 agreement. When I get an opportunity to do so, together with my colleague, Deputy Brady, I am going to forensically take apart his dismissal of my request that he withdraw this legislation.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Which section are we dealing with, a Cheann Comhairle?

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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We are discussing section 2. The Minister may make a contribution on it if he so wishes. He does not have to do so.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I want to answer some of the points the Deputy raised but I will do so in the context of the amendments as we reach them.

Question put and declared carried.

SECTION 3

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
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Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 are related and will be discussed together.

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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I move amendment No. 2:

In page 7, line 12, to delete "as soon as may be" and substitute the following: "within a time period allowing reasonable time for the order to be examined but not longer than 12 months".

I am hopeful that the Minister will agree to these reasonable amendments. I have already referred to the unfortunate terms of the agreement of 2014. Amendment No. 2 proposes that any future agreements would be subject to scrutiny for a period of time not longer than 12 months, which a reasonable period. Amendment No. 3 proposes that: "[T]he laying of such an order shall be accompanied by the general publication and circulation to members of the Oireachtas of documents [this is important] clarifying the meaning and consequences of said order including but not limited to maps, charts and preparatory works of any related treaty negotiation." I have to say again on the record that what happened in 2014 was absolutely shameful and a disgrace. It was also unconstitutional. We hope there will be ongoing negotiations following what is going to happen tonight. We are proposing in amendment No. 3 that, in future, any agreements in regard to maritime boundaries will be subject to proper scrutiny in the Houses of the Oireachtas and that all the information will be made available and given proper democratic treatment. That is the purpose of these two amendments and I hope they are agreed. It is entirely reasonable in a democracy that we would request what is set out in these proposals.

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)
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I support amendments Nos. 2 and 3. We have been speaking about the fishing industry in the House more of late than at any other period because it has gone through a horrific time, particularly over the past 12 months. It is hard to believe the situation could get any worse than what it was but it certainly has done in the past 12 months, with penalty points being imposed on fishermen, a disastrous Brexit deal, the horrendous weighing crisis and the attempted ramming off Castletownbere of a Castletownbere-registered trawler. There is little or no safety and security around Spanish fishing vessels fishing illegally in Irish waters. There are few and only poor supports in our waters for Irish fishers. We are talking about Rockall tonight. I am very concerned that if there is such little support for fishermen in our own waters, what kinds of supports will be given to fishermen to continue to fish off Rockall in Scotland?

I am extremely disappointed that we might be giving more of our territory away to others. In the past week, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine sent out a letter to fishermen from the Republic with larger trawlers instructing them not to fish in the nought to six nautical miles zone off the coastline. Northern Ireland vessels, however, will be allowed to do that no matter the size of the trawler. Perhaps neither should be doing it but, certainly, if fishermen from the Republic have been instructed that they are not allowed to do it, the same law surely should apply to Northern Ireland trawlers. It seems to me that this country is continually making way for, and giving some kind of leniency to, other countries to fish in our waters. Of course, we threw many of our rights away long ago but we tend to continue to erode whatever bit of law or regulation is in place for securing some fishing rights for Irish fishermen. We see from the pictures that are sent to us every night that foreign fleets are fishing our waters quite bravely.

We are losing massive amounts of quota. Many fishermen are left mystified as to who is protecting them. Is the SFPA on their side? Is the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on their side? More and more calls are being made for the disbandment of the marine section of the Department and for the SFPA to be answerable. The agency is answerable now to our Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, but that is not enough. As far as Irish fishermen are concerned, the requisite protections and supports have never been there for them. I have fought bravely in here for those protections and supports. This Government must have a change of mindset. The only way that we can do that is right at the top. A senior Minister for the marine must be appointed. Any Government seeking to lead in this country must be willing to look at the rich resources we have for our fishing industry. I appreciate all the fishermen and fisherwomen who go out onto the high seas and work so hard. It is sad to think that some of them can then face a trawler that could be three times the size of their boats chasing them in Irish waters and attempting to ram them, while we see no protection out there. I do not want to waste time, because time is valuable on this issue, but I ask the Minister to consider these amendments.

9:37 pm

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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I want to recall that not that many weeks ago fishermen gave up 24 or 36 hours to come to Dublin to make their voices heard and speak up for their industry, which was under attack. Now, more than ever before, we must concentrate on the protection of those fishermen’s livelihoods. Regarding this amendment, we must always ensure that we as politicians always have the interests of our own fishermen most at heart. I state that because it is true that one of the most upsetting things it is possible to think of is our navy coming down hard on our fishermen at a time we are being plundered by people coming in from abroad, riding roughshod over our rules and regulations and constantly encroaching on our fishing grounds.

At the same time, then, our own fishermen are being let down. They are being scrutinised and having adverse work practices thrust upon them. It has been made more and more difficult for fishermen and fisherwomen to carry on with their work. All they want to do is earn a living. Even on a small scale, there is much involved in working as a fisherman or fisherwoman. I refer to the cost of the boats and the hauling in of fish. It is very hard work. Horrible things have been said in this Dáil about employers. People have gone on the record stating that employers in this regard have not been treating their employees right. That was wrong. It was an awful statement to make here. When the fishermen came up here to protest, we met the nicest of people from abroad who came here to work with our fishermen in our fishing fleets. Those people we met were delighted with the opportunity to work here.

They are extremely skilled people, who are paid the proper rates of pay and respected. Their work is appreciated. We heard them speak from their hearts outside this convention centre a few weeks ago and they said they were delighted to be working here. Then they heard politicians in here standing up and saying derogatory things about the terms of employment under which they are working and that they were being blackguarded. The Deputies making those statements here did so with protection against being pulled up on what they said, because it is permissible to say anything here and it need not be based on fact. It was an awful thing to do to those people outside. It was insulting to those workers, never mind how awful and hurtful it was to the fishermen who employ them. As I said, those employers respect and appreciate the good work of those employees.

However, all that is in danger. Successive Governments, and not only this one, have let our fishermen and the entire sector down. Again, this seems to be the trend of the Government. When it is the fishing, farming, tourism or forestry sectors, it is a case of attacking and undermining those core industries all the time. That is why we are willing to put our shoulders to the wheel to back those people and their aims and interests. We want to highlight what is happening in this sector. Let us take the example of what occurred during the recent negotiations concerning fishing and how our fishermen were once again sold out. Again, there was an attack on them. It was the same type of attack as that on small farmers during the negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy. People trying to tell us that small farmers are going to come out well from those negotiations are wrong and do not know what they are talking about.

Photo of Danny Healy-RaeDanny Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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I also want to speak on behalf of the fishermen of our country. I refer to fishermen operating right around our coasts from Castletownbere, Dingle and Berehaven and all areas along the west coast, whether in counties Mayo, Donegal or wherever. These fishermen have been badly let down. Being let down is now being compounded by other issues as well, including the sacking of the former European Commissioner, Phil Hogan, and two Ministers for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. This all happened while the important CAP talks were going on and it meant that we had no organised attempt to defend our fishermen. Their quotas have been further reduced and they are not getting the protection of our marine protection vessels that are supposed to defend them. They have been badly let down.

Indeed, this group of people came, at savage expense, up the Liffey and moored their boats on the river here across from the convention centre. To say that they had organised and thought out their entire protest and presentation would be an understatement. They were very organised. Perhaps 20 of those fishermen spoke one after the other and no one repeated what the first fella had said. Their stories were very interesting and they made a real impression on me and all the elected Members to whom I spoke about the protest. It was the most organised demonstration that I have seen in front of us during the six years I have been representing the county of Kerry.

No proper attempt was made at the talks on fishing in Brussels, and I think we were not even represented at some of those talks. That is how bad the story is. Yet, the French Government made sure that it got what it wanted for its fishermen. It did not let its crowd down. I can honestly say, however, that our fishermen have been let down. They are not looking for handouts. All they want is more fishing quota. This weighing regime that the fishermen are being asked to undertake is not being required of foreign fishermen landing catches in harbours on our shores. This measure must be got rid of right away.

Our fishermen need protection when foreign boats are threatening or ramming them. They are not getting that protection. I really appreciate the fishermen. I know a lot of them who are based along the coast. They work part time at fishing and do a small bit of farming and maybe a small bit of building. By massive ingenuity, they eke out a living. They need fishing to be protected. We cannot let them die away. I can see what it costs to put fishing vessels to sea, because those boats do not land out of the sky.

There is massive expense there. Can the Minister imagine how they are suffering with the cost of diesel and fuel since the increase, and being charged carbon tax on top of it?

9:47 pm

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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I ask the Deputy to stick to the section, please.

Photo of Danny Healy-RaeDanny Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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I will. I am finishing up. It would be remiss of me as an elected representative if I did not defend people from coastal communities to ensure they survive. They are at a crossroads now, like the hospitality sector. Who is going to be affected again only our rural areas? We do not want any further demise of those areas because they are gone down and gone back far enough.

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
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I am speaking to amendments Nos. 2 and 3. Some in the House this evening would lead us to believe this is a mundane and simple piece of house-tidying legislation, but it goes much further than that because this is about national interest and our sovereignty. It is about doing something this State has failed to do, which is to lay claim to a critical piece of our heritage, an important piece of our seas and our territory, namely, Rockall. This is an attempt to disguise the Government's intent to put its 2014 betrayal of Ireland's interests into law under this Bill. That agreement was obscured from public scrutiny to hide the shame of the Government at its wanton betrayal of Irish interests. Many legal views have been articulated many times about the 2014 agreement between the then Minister, Eamon Gilmore, and the British ambassador, Dominick Chilcott, stating it was unconstitutional. There was no scrutiny or debate on the agreement and it was totally undemocratic. That agreement spoke to 19th or early 20th century colonial forces sitting down and drawing lines on maps at the expense of native peoples. That is essentially what happened here but this is the 21st century and we are a proud sovereign people.

The British first laid claim to Rockall in 1955 on the basis it was on a flight plan of nuclear weapons. That was the sole intent at that stage for laying claim to it but, unfortunately, successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments failed to offer an Irish counterclaim to that claim by the British. As the British hoisted up their Union Jack, this Government and previous governments were busy hoisting up the white flag and ceding our sovereignty and our control over what is Irish. In the 1970s, Garrett FitzGerald effectively conceded sovereignty to the British, stating the Irish position was that British claims had no consequence on maritime jurisdiction, while Fianna Fáil obliged by doing what it does best and stood idly by. Things have changed fundamentally-----

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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The Deputy is straying a bit. I ask him to come back to the amendment.

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
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I am getting to the important part and am speaking to the amendments.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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Brostaigh ort.

Photo of John BradyJohn Brady (Wicklow, Sinn Fein)
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Things have changed fundamentally since that agreement in 2014 because it was made on the basis of membership of the EU and commitments under the Common Fisheries Policy. The agreement was completely undermined by the British Government on account of Brexit and it is now completely null and void. The Irish Government and the Department of Foreign Affairs must now seek to revisit it and consider the best approach, including seeking to lodge a territorial claim to resolve this issue once and for all. While we stand here, Donegal fishermen are being put out of that area and there are British naval vessels in it. Fishermen are being locked out of that area. This comes on the back of a bad Brexit deal for Irish fishermen where up to 15% of their fishing quota is being cut. The obligation is now on the Irish Government not just to stand up for our sovereignty and our rights but to stand up for our fishermen as well. I urge the Minister to do that and I call on him to support our amendments. They are critical amendments. It is time to rectify a wrongdoing where the democratic mandate of this House was completely bypassed in the agreement signed up to by the then Minister, Eamon Gilmore. I ask the Minister to accept these amendments.

Photo of James LawlessJames Lawless (Kildare North, Fianna Fail)
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Notwithstanding Deputy Brady's political assault on Fianna Fáil and other parties, which is irrelevant to the debate, it is important to put down some law around the subject and to consider the points. I am sympathetic to Deputy Mac Lochlainn's points about Rockall, which he made well. Section 2 refers to islands and amendment No. 1 seeks to redefine the definition of an island. I would query whether that is possible under international law. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, enacted in 1982, an outcrop that is uninhabitable does not usually qualify as an island. I see what the Deputies are trying to do. I see the good faith arguments put forward by Deputy Mac Lochlainn in particular and I share the ideas behind them, but I am just not quite sure if that is feasible from a technical point of view because that convention is an international treaty signed up to by 182 countries. I do not know if that is feasible, much as we might wish to do it and though I see where the Deputies are coming from on it. I am just asking that question.

To contradict Deputy Brady, Fianna Fáil governments led the charge through the ten years of negotiations that led to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea being enacted in 1982 and being opened for signatures. Let us get the history straight as well as the law.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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I would like to set the record straight on a range of matters, given the debate we have just had. First, this legislation updates and clarifies the law relating to the maritime jurisdiction of the State into a single accessible stand-alone enactment. It describes the different maritime zones of national jurisdiction recognised by international law. It sets out the State's sovereign and jurisdictional rights in each of these zones, and it confers powers on the Government to delineate the zones in domestic law. Those zones are the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone, EEZ, and the continental shelf. However, as the Government has pointed out in debates on this Bill on a number of occasions and on different Stages, how the State then decides to exercise those jurisdictional rights is left to separate legislation beyond the scope of this Bill. It is important we try to address the legislation we are looking to pass through the Houses this evening rather than something else.

On the amendments, I understand amendment No. 2 has been disallowed. I would like to address amendment No. 3 in some detail and to answer some of the other questions relating to Rockall and agreements signed at different periods.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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I would point out to the Minister that amendment No. 2 has not been disallowed.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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My understanding from the Bills Office is that it has but let me-----

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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Amendment No. 1 has been disallowed.

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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Yes, but amendment No. 2 has not.

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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My understanding is that amendments Nos. 2 and 3 are linked and that amendment No. 2 is disallowed but I will happily deal with both amendments. My speaking note should cover both. Amendment No. 3 is overly prescriptive but I assure the Deputies it has always been the practice to attach an explanatory note to any order made under the Maritime Jurisdiction Acts as well as illustrative maps where appropriate. For instance, the recent Maritime Jurisdiction (Straight Baselines) Order 2016 included an illustrative chart as well as an explanatory note.

I assure Deputies that there is no intention to depart from that practice and for this reason I am unable to accept amendment No. 3.

The 2013 agreement between Ireland and the UK, which has been referred to by a number of Deputies, established exclusive economic zone, EEZ, boundaries and was signed on 28 March 2013. It was ratified on 31 March 2014 and entered into force on the same day. The boundaries established by that agreement were prescribed by the Maritime Jurisdiction (Boundaries of Exclusive Economic Zone) Order 2014 and this order was subject to the negative resolution procedure, that is, it was open to either House of the Oireachtas to annul it by resolution within 21 sitting days of it being laid before the Oireachtas. No such resolution was adopted. The 2013 agreement was then laid before Dáil Éireann in accordance with Article 29.5.1° of Bunreacht na hÉireann and published in the Irish Treaty Series. As the agreement did not involve a charge on public funds, its prior approval by Dáil Éireann in accordance with Article 29.5.2° was not required. This was not unconstitutional and it is important to set the record straight on that before the House .

The 2013 agreement between Ireland and the UK is an agreement the Government is satisfied achieves an equitable solution to the boundary issue and it is considerably to our benefit. A strict equidistance line, which some seem to have suggested we should have pursued, would have resulted in a far greater maritime area falling on the UK side of the boundaries. This outcome was successfully avoided at the time by the then Minister. The boundaries agreed were those that had been established in 1988 for the continental shelf on the seabed below. The 2013 agreement means the same boundaries are used for the continental shelf and the water column above it, out to the maximum distance of 200 nautical miles. The boundary that had been drawn on the seabed was simply replicated in terms of the sea above it as well.

I refer to Rockall because fishermen deserve to know the truth, rather than hear political spin on this issue. Believe me, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy McConalogue, and I have discussed Rockall on dozens of occasions in recent months. We continually look to talk to our colleagues in Scotland about trying to find a good fishing outcome in access and fishing rights around Rockall. Let me put the truth on the record for the fishing industry. Deputies should be clear that the limits claimed prior to agreement with the UK in 2013, which represented the maximum the Government in 1976 believed was likely to be permitted by international law, never extended as far as Rockall.

People keep misleading others on this issue. There was never a claim by Ireland that went as far as and beyond the rock of Rockall. That is the truth of the situation, despite what people keep saying to those in the fishing industry, which unfortunately misleads them and results in an awful lot of tension and anger around this issue. It is not accurate to suggest that the 2013 agreement in some way conceded Rockall. It is just not factually true. The consistent position of successive Governments has been that uninhabited rocks in the middle of the ocean should not be claimed by any state. For that reason, the UK's claim has not been accepted, nor has Ireland made such a claim either. We do not accept that British sovereignty extends to Rockall and we have never accepted that. That is why we also do not accept that Rockall can create a 12-mile limit around it in terms of an exclusive fishing zone, which is what the contention with the fleet in County Donegal is all about.

I am advised that the term "as soon as may be", which is referred to in the Bill, is intended to ensure that any order required to be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas is laid as soon as possible and much sooner than the 12 months mentioned in amendment No. 2. It has always been the practice of my Department to arrange for the laying of such orders as soon as they are made and there is no intention to depart from that practice.

I understand the tensions on Rockall only too well. I am a former Minister for the Agriculture, Food and the Marine and I understand the Rockall issue intimately, as does the Minister, Deputy McConalogue. We have to be honest with the industry on what is possible and what is not. We have to avoid blaming Ministers or former Ministers who are not here to defend themselves. I mention people like Eamon Gilmore, who struck a deal that was consistent with international law and got the best result that was available at the time for the State. The deal has subsequently been endorsed as that. We have to be honest with people that this was not in some way a sell-out of Rockall. Even before then, the lines created a grey area and a crossover in the claims by the UK. Even at its most extensive, the area never stretched as far as the rock of Rockall, despite how some people have explained this issue to the industry over and over again, either by mistake or deliberately; I honestly do not know. It is important that we set the record straight on this issue in this debate.

We must also set the record straight that the Government continues to work on the Rockall issue to try to ensure that traditional fishing rights around that rock continue, whether it is a squid fishery, haddock or whatever. We can secure certainty for our industry over time, given the added complexity of Brexit and the licensing that is required for our fishing fleets to enter the UK EEZ. We need to be honest with our industry on what is possible and what is not. I will continue to work with the Minister, Deputy McConalogue, to try to get the best possible deal on Rockall interests for our fishermen.

9:57 pm

Photo of Pádraig Mac LochlainnPádraig Mac Lochlainn (Donegal, Sinn Fein)
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The Minister has put forward the subject of honesty and I am glad he has done so. Let us go through facts in detail. It is true that there were a number of agreements between the Irish Government and the British Government on the area around Rockall, culminating in the 2013 agreement. It was signed in 2013 and then laid before the Houses in 2014. The Minister says that the Government always protests that a rock that is uninhabited cannot generate an EEZ and a continental shelf. However, it can generate a 12-mile limit. An array of legal experts are clear that the Government's repeated ceding of the territory around Rockall allows the British to generate a 12-mile limit around it.

Here is the problem. For the past seven months, fishermen from Donegal have tried to exercise their traditional fishing rights. They have been denied and blocked from doing so. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Agriculture, Food and the Marine have failed to resolve this issue. Why have they not taken this for international arbitration or made a counter-claim on that territory? Iceland does not recognise the 2013 agreement. Iceland and Denmark do not recognise British control over Rockall but our Government does. The problem is that the 2013 agreement was never taken in these Houses for debate.

I will bring the Minister's attention to the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Barlow case of 2016. Seven Supreme Court judges stated the following:

In constitutional terms, it means that the Constitution requires that the regulation of natural resources stated to be the property of the State must be the subject of a decision by the representatives of the People who are accountable to them. [I will continue] Legislation is normally required to take place in public (Article 15.8), which carries with it the possibility of public knowledge and debate. In effect, therefore, the Constitution mandates that if State property, in particular natural resources, is to be sold, leased, managed or regulated, then that decision should be made in public by representatives who are accountable to the People who can accordingly make their views known. It follows in my view, that the Court should take a strict approach to the requirements of Article 10.3 which ensures compliance both with the text and the underlying rationale of the Article.

Clearly the 2013 and 2014 agreement did not comply with that standard and I put it to the Minister that it is unconstitutional. The Minister talked about truth and facts. Let us go to page 10 of his legislation where it clearly states:

The Maritime Jurisdiction (Boundaries of Exclusive Economic Zone) Order 2014 (S.I. No. 86 of 2014) shall continue in operation and have effect on and after the commencement of...

I will not read the rest. The Government is putting that agreement, which was never debated in these Houses, into law. It is putting on a legal or constitutional footing that which did not have a legal or constitutional footing before. That was an opportunity for the Government on two levels. It was unconstitutional and it had no strong legal footing, just like the voisinage agreement before it. That is why the Government had to legislate for the voisinage agreement to come into effect. That is what happened. I remember that debate well.

With the 2014 agreement, the Government could argue with some degree of defence that it was under the jurisdiction of the Common Fisheries Policy. However, the area the Government has ceded to Britain around Rockall is now part of its territorial waters and it has put in place a 12-mile limit. Why would the Government not take that to international arbitration? It has failed to get our Donegal fishermen back fishing in their traditional grounds for the last seven months. It has not stood up to the British Government on or defended our sovereign interests in this matter. It has meekly allowed that to happen. The British Government is blocking our Donegal fishermen from accessing their traditional fishing grounds for seven months and the Government did not take it to international arbitration. There was no legal basis in Irish law for that to happen. The Government could have challenged it but instead it made what is happening there legal under Irish law. The Government undermines its own case even further.

Those are the facts and the truth and every fisherman in this country knows it. It is time this Government grew a backbone and stood up for our interests and defended them. It is outrageous that the Taoiseach stood up here today when I asked him to withdraw this legislation and denied what is in black and white. There is not a single objective person in this country reading that Bill who can deny that the Government is putting on a legal and constitutional footing what was not legal or constitutional before. It is undeniable and shameful that the Government is backing down and not standing up for our interests. The Taoiseach should be ashamed of himself for his response today.

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 60; Níl, 80; Staon, 0.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies John Brady and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn; Níl, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Jack Chambers.

Chris Andrews, Ivana Bacik, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Martin Browne, Pat Buckley, Matt Carthy, Sorca Clarke, Michael Collins, Rose Conway-Walsh, Réada Cronin, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Pa Daly, Pearse Doherty, Paul Donnelly, Dessie Ellis, Mairead Farrell, Michael Fitzmaurice, Kathleen Funchion, Gary Gannon, Thomas Gould, Johnny Guirke, Marian Harkin, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Brendan Howlin, Alan Kelly, Gino Kenny, Martin Kenny, Claire Kerrane, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Mattie McGrath, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Catherine Murphy, Paul Murphy, Johnny Mythen, Gerald Nash, Carol Nolan, Cian O'Callaghan, Richard O'Donoghue, Louise O'Reilly, Darren O'Rourke, Eoin Ó Broin, Ruairi Ó Murchú, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Maurice Quinlivan, Patricia Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Bríd Smith, Duncan Smith, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Pauline Tully, Mark Ward, Jennifer Whitmore, Violet Wynne.

Níl

Cathal Berry, Colm Brophy, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Colm Burke, Peter Burke, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Seán Canney, Joe Carey, Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Jack Chambers, Niall Collins, Patrick Costello, Simon Coveney, Barry Cowen, Michael Creed, Cathal Crowe, Cormac Devlin, Stephen Donnelly, Paschal Donohoe, Francis Noel Duffy, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Frank Feighan, Peter Fitzpatrick, Joe Flaherty, Charles Flanagan, Seán Fleming, Norma Foley, Noel Grealish, Brendan Griffin, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Martin Heydon, Emer Higgins, Neasa Hourigan, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, John Lahart, James Lawless, Brian Leddin, Michael Lowry, Josepha Madigan, Catherine Martin, Micheál Martin, Steven Matthews, Paul McAuliffe, Charlie McConalogue, Michael McGrath, Joe McHugh, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Jennifer Murnane O'Connor, Verona Murphy, Hildegarde Naughton, Malcolm Noonan, Darragh O'Brien, Joe O'Brien, Jim O'Callaghan, James O'Connor, Kieran O'Donnell, Patrick O'Donovan, Fergus O'Dowd, Christopher O'Sullivan, Pádraig O'Sullivan, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Éamon Ó Cuív, Anne Rabbitte, Neale Richmond, Eamon Ryan, Matt Shanahan, Brendan Smith, Niamh Smyth, Ossian Smyth, David Stanton, Leo Varadkar.

Amendment declared lost.

Deputy Holly Cairns did not vote in this division due to an agreed pairing arrangement with Minister Helen McEntee for the duration of the Minister’s maternity leave.

10:17 pm

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Ceann Comhairle; Kildare South, Ceann Comhairle)
Link to this: Individually | In context

The time permitted for this debate having expired, I am required to put the following question in accordance with an order of the Dáil of 13 July: “That in respect of each of the sections undisposed of, the section is hereby agreed to in Committee, Schedules 1 and 2 and the Title are hereby agreed to in Committee, and the Bill is accordingly reported to the House without amendment, Fourth Stage is hereby completed, and the Bill is hereby passed."

Question put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 92; Níl, 47; Staon, 0.


Tellers: Tá, Deputies Brendan Griffin and Jack Chambers; Níl, Deputies John Brady and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.

Ivana Bacik, Cathal Berry, Colm Brophy, James Browne, Richard Bruton, Colm Burke, Peter Burke, Mary Butler, Thomas Byrne, Jackie Cahill, Dara Calleary, Seán Canney, Joe Carey, Jennifer Carroll MacNeill, Jack Chambers, Niall Collins, Patrick Costello, Simon Coveney, Barry Cowen, Michael Creed, Cathal Crowe, Cormac Devlin, Stephen Donnelly, Paschal Donohoe, Francis Noel Duffy, Bernard Durkan, Damien English, Alan Farrell, Frank Feighan, Peter Fitzpatrick, Joe Flaherty, Charles Flanagan, Seán Fleming, Norma Foley, Gary Gannon, Noel Grealish, Brendan Griffin, Marian Harkin, Simon Harris, Seán Haughey, Martin Heydon, Emer Higgins, Neasa Hourigan, Brendan Howlin, Heather Humphreys, Paul Kehoe, Alan Kelly, John Lahart, James Lawless, Brian Leddin, Michael Lowry, Josepha Madigan, Catherine Martin, Micheál Martin, Steven Matthews, Paul McAuliffe, Charlie McConalogue, Michael McGrath, Joe McHugh, Michael McNamara, Aindrias Moynihan, Michael Moynihan, Jennifer Murnane O'Connor, Catherine Murphy, Verona Murphy, Gerald Nash, Hildegarde Naughton, Malcolm Noonan, Darragh O'Brien, Joe O'Brien, Cian O'Callaghan, Jim O'Callaghan, James O'Connor, Kieran O'Donnell, Patrick O'Donovan, Fergus O'Dowd, Christopher O'Sullivan, Pádraig O'Sullivan, Marc Ó Cathasaigh, Éamon Ó Cuív, Anne Rabbitte, Neale Richmond, Eamon Ryan, Seán Sherlock, Róisín Shortall, Brendan Smith, Duncan Smith, Niamh Smyth, Ossian Smyth, David Stanton, Leo Varadkar, Jennifer Whitmore.

Níl

Chris Andrews, Mick Barry, Richard Boyd Barrett, John Brady, Martin Browne, Pat Buckley, Matt Carthy, Sorca Clarke, Michael Collins, Rose Conway-Walsh, Réada Cronin, Seán Crowe, David Cullinane, Pa Daly, Pearse Doherty, Paul Donnelly, Dessie Ellis, Mairead Farrell, Michael Fitzmaurice, Kathleen Funchion, Thomas Gould, Johnny Guirke, Michael Healy-Rae, Gino Kenny, Martin Kenny, Claire Kerrane, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, Mattie McGrath, Denise Mitchell, Imelda Munster, Paul Murphy, Johnny Mythen, Carol Nolan, Richard O'Donoghue, Louise O'Reilly, Darren O'Rourke, Eoin Ó Broin, Ruairi Ó Murchú, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Maurice Quinlivan, Patricia Ryan, Bríd Smith, Brian Stanley, Peadar Tóibín, Pauline Tully, Mark Ward, Violet Wynne.

Question declared carried.

Deputy Holly Cairns did not vote in this division due to an agreed pairing arrangement with Minister Helen McEntee for the duration of the Minister’s maternity leave.