Patrick Murphy, CEO of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, said a new political movement is in the offing.
The Irish Examiner reports that fishermen around the country are organizing a new political movement that will run candidates in the next general election.
Although no name has been decided yet, the group plans to host meetings in towns around the coast in a roadshow that will be used to find candidates to run on a “rural Ireland ticket”.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Patrick Murphy said fishermen are “sick of politicians promising us the earth while in opposition, only for them to ignore us when they get into power.”
“The fishing industry is dying in this country but so too is rural Ireland,” Murphy explained.
“We have to do something to stop the decline.
“If the fishing industry collapses in this country, it will have a domino effect on coastal communities.
“We need more rural TDs who stick up for rural issues and to find a middle ground between Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.”
The move comes just days after 70 fishing boats sailed into Cork City to deliver a letter to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s office.
Speaking on Red FM as the flotilla entered the Port of Cork, Murphy claimed Ireland’s fishing industry had been “robbed, mugged, taken from us…20% of our fish have been taken by the European Union and gifted to somebody else…given to the UK…to get Brexit across the line.”
“There’s only two places really that people come to fish: Irish waters and UK waters…because there’s very little fish in their own waters.
“We are left with 15%…85% of fish caught in Irish waters is caught by different boats from different nationalities…nobody is talking about it.
“It was a Christmas present from the EU delivered on the 24th December.”
The new political movement will focus on a range of other rural issues too, including broadband, farming, housing and Brexit.
Union Hall fisherman Joe Walsh told the Irish Examiner however that the fishing industry in particular was “constantly being asked to jump through one legislative hoop after another by Europe.”
“In the past, we have done as we were told, but now it’s all becoming impractical and unrealistic and we’ve had enough,” he insisted.
“While it wouldn’t be something for me, I know plenty of guys who feel strongly enough about what is happening to stand as a TD.
“Too few of the current crop of politicians are fighting for rural communities, and that needs to change.”