‘You sold us out to EU!’ Irish fishermen FINALLY realise they’ve been had – bitter protest

Brexit fishing: Expert reveals 'key issues' in EU trade deal

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A flotilla of vessels from across the country, including from Dublin, Louth, Donegal, Wexford, Waterford, Kerry and Cork, will sail down the River Liffey in the capital to make their voices heard. Maritime chiefs warned the industry was now engaged in a desperate fight for survival because of the impact of the Brexit deal on fishing quotas, which have fallen in the last 12 months.

Under the UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, Ireland has suffered a 15 per cent overall reduction in fishing quotas between 2021 and 2026, worth £36 million.

Fishing bosses have also expressed severe concerns about a new penalty points system which Brussels has asked Irish ministers to introduce.

Ministers are currently debating plans to bring forward the legislation that would introduce the controversial system, following pressure from Eurocrats.

Under the proposals, the penalty points for masters of fishing vessels would see penalties issued for serious infringements of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

It comes after £6 million in EU funding for the Irish fishing sector was suspended by Brussels last year because of the failure to establish a penalty points system for the sector.

Fisherman Adrian McClenaghan, from Donegal, a keynote speaker at the event on Wednesday, said: “Fishing in Ireland was sold out during the Brexit talks.

“If this continues without the Government taking firm action to save our industry, there won’t be a future in the sector for the next generation of young fishermen.

“I think the only way to describe it is as a sell-out – a sell-out of an entire industry. Just to get a Brexit deal done.”

During the event later this week, fishermen will call for a renegotiation of the EU CFP to ensure Ireland is allocated a fair share of quotas in its own waters.

Chiefs also want an “equal burden sharing” among EU member states in relation to the Brexit deal, and a fair share of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve fund for the fishing industry.

But MEPs reached a political agreement on Thursday on the £4.2 billion (€5billion) BAR fund, paving the way for the first payment by December.

Eurocrats say the focus is on countries and sectors worst affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and include cash for fisheries.

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The European Commission said Ireland will be “by far” the largest beneficiary in absolute terms, followed by the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium.

Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin visited fishermen in County Cork over the weekend and said the Government had “already signalled to the European Commission that we are not happy with the unfair burden-sharing that occurred as a result of Brexit”.

Mr Martin said the allocation of quotas was “challenging”, and he hoped to “redress the balance” and “do right by the Irish fishing community”.

An Irish Government spokesman said that Mr Martin wanted to focus on having constructive dialogue to resolve the concerns.

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