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Call for Political Parties to Unite Behind Coastal Communities

25th January 2019
Liadh Ní Riada MEP and Councillor Paul Hayes meeting with fishermen in Castletownbere for the launch of The Charter for Fishers, Coastal Communities and the Island Liadh Ní Riada MEP and Councillor Paul Hayes meeting with fishermen in Castletownbere for the launch of The Charter for Fishers, Coastal Communities and the Island

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on all political parties to unite behind a series of broad principles designed to protect our fishing industry, coastal communities and islands.

The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, made the call at the launch of a fisheries rights charter in Castletownbere today, with local councillor Paul Hayes.

“This document, which sets out 24 key points of action, is the work of numerous consultations within the fishing industry, with NGOs and with coastal communities,” she said.

“The guiding principles it contains are driven by the people who know this industry and these areas best, those who live and work in them. Nobody has more incentive to ensure that our oceans are managed ethically and sustainably than those whose lives and livelihoods rely on them.

“Therefore I would hope that all political parties can get behind these principles and bear them in mind when it comes to dealing with our oceans, whether in negotiations in Brussels or debates in the Dáil.

“The Irish fishing industry and the coastal communities that it sustains have been badly let down by successive Irish Governments and by the European Union. What could and should have been a vibrant and sustainable driver of growth in our national economy has been held back by bad policy and political neglect.

“There is no overnight solution to the catalogue of wrongs done to fishermen and fishing communities, however I believe the first step in setting things to right is for policymakers to show respect to those involved in the industry and to our coastal and island communities, by listening to what they have to say.

“Whether they are from the islands, Castletownbere, Dingle, Kilmore Quay, Rossaveal, Killybegs, Howth, Ard Glass,Kilkeel or Portavogie, Sinn Féin wants to work with all fishers to promote our fishing sector in a fair and equitable manner.

A1 Fisheries Charter 1 1

“I would encourage everybody, particularly those who it most effects, to read this charter and to contact your local councillors, TDs, MLAs and MEPs and urge them to adopt these guiding principles for their own.”

Councillor Paul Hayes also endorsed the charter and called on the Government to do more to protect coastal communities.

“Castletownbere is not unique in feeling abandoned by the government,” he said.

“Coastal communities right around the country are all telling us the same story; that the only time the government pays any attention to our oceans is when they are selling them off.

“Ireland needs a dedicated Minister for the Marine, someone whose sole responsibility will be to protecting, promoting and sustaining our coastal economies and communities.” Team

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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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