Friday, January 12, 2007

Double tragedy at Sea

The loss of two Irish fishing trawlers off the Wexford / Waterford coast is the latest fishing tragedy to hit the area. As I write seven fishermen are missing, presumed drowned. Five men have been lost from the Dunmore East based Pére Charles while two more are missing from the Kinsale based Honeydew II. Two crewmen were saved from the latter which went down only 13 miles from the Pére Charles.

Fishing has played second-fiddle to agriculture in this country for generations and when Ireland joined the European Economic Community (forerunner to the European Union), Fianna Fáil sold out our fisheries to all comers. Now our Naval Service patrols Irish waters to protect it for ships of all EU nations, not just the Irish and indeed to enforce tight quotas which are needed because our fisheries were wiped out, mostly by our European 'partners'.

Investment in fisheries is a mere fraction of agriculture and many boats are old and dangerous.
Isn't it time Ireland protected its fisheries and our fisherfolk and told the EU to go jump? I think so.

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