Thursday, 14 March 2019
Sea-Fisheries (Amendment) Bill 2017: Committee Stage (Resumed)
We only will have one other sitting week, so that will have to happen before the final sitting week.
I really have nothing further to add to what Senator Mac Lochlainn has said. It is the reality that corporate owners are already present on both the Irish and Northern Ireland register. That is the reality and I cannot proceed or accept an amendment that is illegal in the context of EU law and case law. It simply is not possible to do that. Even if I could, the Senator should be careful what he wishes for. The Supreme Court judgment indicated that the plaintiffs are corporate owners. I do not want to get into the detail because part of that case is still before the court. Corporate ownership is a reflection of the evolution of the industry since the introduction of voisinage. Corner shopkeepers today are limited companies. Corporate ownership is more mainstream now than it was in the 1960s. In the context of the free movement of goods and services and establishment entitlements and so on under EU law, it is not possible for us to be prescriptive about residency or such details. There are people on our register who reflect corporate ownership structures, as there are people on the Northern Ireland register. They move in both directions. The Senator is seeking a situation where we would restrict a reciprocal arrangement for people who are coming from the North that we do not apply to our own. That defeats the purpose of reciprocity and would be illegal.