Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, John Brady TD, and spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD, have accused the government of “waving the white flag” on Britain’s ownership of Rockall and the fishing grounds around it.
They were speaking in advance of the final stages of the Maritime Jurisdiction Bill that will come through the Dáil in just 45 minutes tomorrow night.
Teachta Brady said:
“The government intend to put the controversial 2014 Agreement between Ireland and Britain on the maritime boundary of each country in to law through this Maritime Jurisdiction Bill.
“That agreement was never scrutinised, debated, and voted on in the Houses of the Oireachtas in contravention of the Constitution and its legal standing is heavily disputed. That agreement has also been further discredited by Brexit and the changeover of control of key fishing waters from the mutual control of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy over to the exclusive control of Britain.
“It is truly shocking that the Irish government are not only not seeking to renegotiate this agreement but now they are waving the white flag and strengthening the hand of the British government.
“Sinn Féin have submitted a range of amendments to stop this from happening tomorrow night and in response, the government will use the guillotine to limit the remaining time for this legislation to a derisory 45 minutes.”
Teachta Mac Lochlainn said:
“Since the EU/ UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement came into effect on January 1st of this year, boats and fishermen from Donegal have been blocked by the British authorities from fishing in their traditional fishing grounds in the 12-mile limit around Rockall.
“I have raised this repeatedly with the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for the Marine and almost seven months on, there is no sign of a solution. Despite repeated assurances and denials from consecutive Irish governments, these agreements with the British government in 2014 and in the past, have led to the shameful handing away of our fishing rights to these waters.
“Rather than tear up or even renegotiate these agreements, this Irish government are doubling down and putting them into Irish law. This is astonishing and a kick in the teeth to our fishermen.”