Thursday, 14 March 2019
Sea-Fisheries (Amendment) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (Resumed)
I concur with Senators Mac Lochlainn and Nash on the attempt to force this legislation, with which my party broadly agrees, through all Stages here today without proper consultation with the various organisations and individuals that have genuine concerns about it. We take grave exception to this House being used merely for optics. Unfortunately, that is what was attempted today in trying to push the legislation though all Stages having left it sitting for the last two years without any meaningful consultation with stakeholders, with our respective parties or with individual Independents.
Nobody in this House minds sitting for 24 hours to pass all sections of necessary or emergency legislation. This is not emergency legislation. We will not be taken for granted. We have reluctantly agreed to take Committee Stage today. We want to see meaningful meetings taking place, by which I do not mean rushing to the phone to have a two-minute conversation with somebody to tick a box. We need the Minister to sit down with the various stakeholders and discuss their concerns. He may then come back to us with his proposed amendments for Report Stage. In the spirit of what this legislation should be about, we will then come to some compromise with the Minister.
The Leas-Chathaoirleach outlined that we should indicate if we intend to submit amendments on Report Stage. Fianna Fáil intends to submit amendments in respect of this section. One of our Report Stage amendments will provide that a sea-fishing boat means any ship, boat or other vessel of whatsoever kind used for sea fishing. We will propose, in page 3, after new subsection 2, to insert a new subsection 3, providing that 1(a) and (b) will no longer apply should the United Kingdom exit the European Union on 29 March 2019 without a deal, or formally withdraw from the fisheries convention done at London on 9 March 1964; and unless an equivalent bilateral is put in place allowing for each jurisdiction to access their respective waters. We will withdraw our Committee Stage amendment as the Minister has assured us he will address the issues at a later Stage, which I assume will be on Report Stage. I thank the Minister for attending the House.