IRELAND South MEP Deirdre Clune has brought representatives from the Irish fishing industry to Brussels to meet with key decision makers in the European Commission and the European Parliament.
The Ireland South MEP organised the meetings to discuss concerns around the new discards ban that is currently being introduced. The Irish delegation were keen to express their concerns about issues such as the future viability of the Irish fishing fleet and issues around landing obligations.
Speaking after the meetings, Ms Clune described the engagements as positive and constructive: ‘The group had a very constructive and engaging meeting with Ms Ulrike Rodust, who was the author of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2013. ‘The group spoke of their fears around the current quota system and the difficulty presented by choke species. They also outlined the very serious impact that super-trawlers are having in European waters and in particular in Irish waters.
‘The delegation also met with Mr. Bernhard Friess, in the European Commission, who has responsibility for all matters relating to the Atlantic and the outermost regions. Mr. Friess encouraged the group to reach out to their counterparts in other EU member states, suggesting that industry lead initiatives might be a faster solution to some of the issues raised.
Following the meetings Deirdre Clune said she was glad to have started a discussion in Europe on how we must act to save our rural fishing communities: ‘Many of our small towns and villages in Ireland are dependent on the sea for their living. The meetings last week in Brussels were hugely promising with representatives in both the Parliament and the Commission committing to engage and meet again on these matters.
Deirdre Clune also took the opportunity to host the critically-acclaimed film ‘Atlantic’ in the European Parliament last week, with the film’s director Risteard O’Domhnaill in attendance. Narrated by Emmy-award winning actor Brendan Gleeson, ‘Atlantic’ follows the fortunes of three small fishing communities - in Ireland, Norway and Newfoundland - bringing to the fore three very intimate stories from the global resource debate.
The Ireland South MEP was joined for the screening by MEPs from Ireland and abroad, officials from the Parliament, the European Commission and the offices of the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union.