Thursday, 14 March 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Pádraig MacLochlainn (Sinn Fein)
Nothing was done for two years until last night. No efforts were made to address the fishing organisations' concerns. We will debate the amendments on Committee Stage, but before the Government deals with Report Stage, it must demonstrate it has engaged in meaningful consultation with the fishing organisations who presented to the Oireachtas committee, and whose contributions are all on the record, to address their genuine concerns. We need legislation that will protect the interests of all Irish fishermen across the Thirty-two Counties, around all of our coast. We all want small trawlers around our coast to have access to Irish waters, but loopholes developed over the years which will be reinstated through this legislation, and that is wrong. We need to defend the interests of Irish fishermen around our coast. We also need to defend our natural resources. We have allowed mussel seed beds, our natural precious resource, to be destroyed and lost. We need to reinstate those in a sensible way. I implore the Leader and those on the Government side to listen to the real concerns of fishermen and, in the next few weeks, the legislation could be reintroduced having addressed their concerns.