The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, brought representatives from the Irish fishing industry to meet with An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar TD, and Tánaiste & Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (with special responsibility for Brexit), Simon Coveney TD.

The purpose of the meeting was to exchange views on the potential impacts of Brexit for the Irish seafood sector and the progress that has been achieved to date in ensuring that fisheries remains a high priority for the EU27 in the negotiations with the UK.

Minister Creed said that “The discussions today provided an opportunity for the fishing industry to highlight the very real concerns they have regarding the potential effects of Brexit. The Taoiseach, Minister Coveney and I were able to assure them that fisheries are, and will remain, a high priority for this Government throughout the Brexit negotiations.”

The representatives of the Irish Fishing Industry present were; Sean O’Donoghue and Michael Cavanagh of the KFO, Patrick Murphy and John D. O’Sullivan of the IS&WFPO, Hugo Boyle and John Lynch of the ISEFPO and Lorcán Ó Cinnéide and Karl McHugh of the IFPEA and Alex Crowley of the NIFF.

The Minister went on to say that “the industry were generally very happy with the progress to date in protecting our key interests. They welcomed the fact that we were able to ensure that there will be absolutely no change to our rights of access and quota share during the transition phase. They are also strongly positive that those rights has been included as a key priority in the EU 27 negotiating guidelines for the future relationship with the UK. This ensures that the maintenance of quota share and access to waters will form in integral part of the future relationship negotiations and with market access to the EU for the UK for all goods and not just fisheries products.”

An Taoiseach expressed the Governments appreciation for the work of the fishing industry at European level through the European Fisheries Alliance and their close cooperation with both Minister Creed and the Tanaiste.

An Taoiseach stated that “Minister Creed and the Tánaiste have worked continuously and successfully to ensure that Michel Barnier and his team have a clear understanding of the issues relating to fisheries and the importance of the EU 27 protecting the existing arrangements on quota share and access to waters. The role of the fishing industry representatives in Ireland and at EU level has been a critical factor in the success to date of having a united and strong EU position on fisheries and for that I would like to express my appreciation.”

Minster Creed concluded by saying that “the progress to date has been positive but we have a long way to go and will face serious challenges. I am encouraged, however, that the strength in unity and clarity of purpose that has been clear from the start will continue to serve us well in the hard negotiations to come.”

Source: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine