The Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine, Michael Creed TD has today (Tuesday) criticised the opposition for acting recklessly after the Dáil voted to annul a European Union regulation in relation to the Common Fisheries Policy.
On 20th March last, Minister Creed signed into law the European Union (Common Fisheries Policy) (Point System) Regulations 2018 (Statutory Instrument No. 89 of 2018).
This established a point system, which would apply to the licence holder of a sea-fishing boat when a serious infringement of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy is detected within Ireland’s 200 mile Exclusive Fishery zone by all fishing vessels – both Irish and foreign.
Commenting after the Dáil vote on a Sinn Fein amendment to a Fianna Fáil motion, Minister Creed said; “I am extremely disappointed that a number of parties and independents have chosen to take the unprecedented step to annul this important law which is required to ensure Ireland complies with its obligations under the Common Fisheries Policy and EU Regulation.
“This was done following a mere two hours of debate, wherein much of the arguments put forward by the opposition did not stand up to scrutiny from a legal stand point.
“I have corresponded with all parties as far back as November 2017 offering briefing and consultation on this important matter. To date no party has put forward an alternative legislative proposal to S.I. No. 89 (2018),” Minister Creed said.
Commenting on the situation that arises from the Dáil decision to annul S.I. No. 89 (2018), Minister Creed said; “A letter of formal notice of infringement proceedings was issued by the European Commission on May 17th 2018 for failure to comply with Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009. S.I. No. 89 of 2018 was required to ensure compliance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009.”
“To date, failure to comply with Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 has led to the suspension of funding under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme. The Commission has suspended contributions under the EMFF including €2.6m in 2017 and a further €4m in 2018.
“This figure will accrue to €37 million in the event of continued non-compliance. There is significant potential of further fines arising from the European Commission infringement proceedings.
“The annulment today of this S.I. now leaves a vacuum in terms of law in this area and impacts on how Ireland responds to the European Commission.
“By annulling this S.I. while failing to bring forward any credible legislative alternative, the opposition have acted with a reckless indifference to the consequences, not only for the fishing industry, but also the public purse and Ireland’s reputation as a member of the European Union and the Common Fisheries Policy,” Minister Creed said.