The voices of Irish fishermen are not being listened to on the issue of the ‘Voisinage agreement’, according to the CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Association, Francis O’Donnell.
The agreement was a gentleman’s agreement made in the 1960s where fishing vessels from both sides of the Border shared reciprocal rights in Irish territorial waters.
Speaking to RTE’s News at One, O’Donnell said that as a result of the agreement, the fishing industry has been excluded from the discussion despite being a major stakeholder.
The agreement leaves Ireland at a disadvantage, as its fishing vessels have fewer rights in their own waters while large multinationals could operate out of Northern Ireland into Irish territorial waters.
O’Donnell claimed that it was not being properly honoured as large vessels that exceeded the agreed size would come regularly from the North into Irish waters.
He said that many issues need to be ironed out before the agreement is reinstated, adding that it should happen until after the UK withdrawal date on the 29 March.
The agreement was struck down by the Irish Supreme Court in 2016, and legislation to reinstate it has yet to pass the Dáil.
The news comes as two fishing trawlers from the North were detained in Dundalk.
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