A Cork TD has accused the government of “allowing an act of piracy” after what he described as the “harrassment and intimidation of a Castletownbere fishing trawler by a Spanish fishing vessel last weekend”.
Rural Independent TD for Cork South West, Michael Collins said the government had failed to take action after the Irish fishing boat and its crew were allegedly almost rammed by a Spanish boat, amidst heightened tensions over fishing rights in Irish waters.
Speaking ahead of a press conference on the matter, Deputy Collins said: “Irish fishing men and women, fishing inside the 12-mile limit for local fishing, derive the protection of the national flag.”
“However, it appears that the Irish state is more interested in challenging Irish vessels than foreign ones.”
“All Irish citizens deserve the protection of the state. However, it is unconceivable that Irish fishers would be let down by the state, during a time of crisis”.
“Over the weekend, I witnessed a boat fishing within the 10 mile limit off Bantry Bay, where foreign trawlers are not supposed to fish, intimate an Irish vessel and crew. Why would the Irish navy and government not intervene, despite my calls for them to do so?”
“The Spanish longliner called the Punta Candieira was allows to shoot its gear and fish unimpeded inside Irish waters. This raises serious questions.”
“It also represents a serious international infringement on our Irish interests. Thus, we are calling on the Taoiseach and the government to explain why they have let the fishing community down yet again?” Deputy Collins said.