WEST Cork fishermen will bring their trawlers to a major rally in Cork city next Wednesday, demanding proper rights and opportunities for the sector.
Organisers say that at least 50 boats will meet at Roches Point in Cork harbour and travel in convoy up the River Lee to the city quays.
After a short rally at noon, fishermen and their families will walk to Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s office in Turner’s Cross to deliver a letter outlining the plight of their industry. Patrick Murphy of Castletownbere-based Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO) said: ‘This show and tell is designed to launch our campaign to raise public awareness of the plundering of our greatest natural resource.’
They want to highlight how the impact of Brexit, together with the re-introduction of a penalty points system on a vessel, and the newly-introduced catch weight system on piers is making it impossible to make a living, he said.
‘This destruction of the fishing industry and the giveaway of Ireland’s renewable natural resource cannot continue,’ he said. ‘The failed and discredited EU Common Fisheries Policy is now undergoing review. Now is the time we need our department and government, together with our MEPs, and each and every member of the Dáil and Seanad to step up to the mark and fulfil their obligations of equal opportunities for all our citizens, and a fair and just apportioning of fish quotas away from the fisheries super-states,’ said Mr Murphy. He added that while all social distancing requirements will be met, with mask wearing and stewarding, the matter ‘is too important’ to let any current restrictions stop the campaign.
‘This is just the start, it’s a first step, we are going to keep going with it,’ he pledged.