For the first time since his appointment, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, met today with EU Fisheries Commissioner Virginius Sinkevičius in Brussels. The focus of today’s meeting was on the state of play with regard to fisheries within the overall Brexit negotiations.
The Minister again stressed the central importance of the fishing industry in Ireland, as an island nation. The Minister made it very clear that Ireland’s fishing industry is in a particularly precarious position as Ireland shares its main fish stocks and its waters on three sides with the UK. The Minister also emphasised that any outcome in the future relationship negotiations that results in a loss of quota share for the EU would cause permanent damage to our fishing industry.
Minister McConalogue stated:
"The negotiating team must follow the EU mandate and defend existing quota shares and access arrangements, by linking the overall economic partnership and the conclusion of a fishing agreement to the fullest extent."
The Minister also expressed confidence that the Commissioner and Michel Barnier would continue to defend Irish and EU fishing interests and relayed the strong message from the Irish fishing industry that unity and cooperation are vital among the European institutions and the Member States.
Commenting afterwards on the meeting, Minister McConalogue said:
"I was very glad to meet Commissioner Sinkevičius today and outline the negative social and economic impacts for fishing and coastal communities in Ireland, if a fair and balanced Fisheries Agreement is not reached with the UK. I welcome the opportunity to continue this close engagement with Commissioner Sinkevičius going forward."