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An open letter to the board of St. Vincent de Paul re hardships for Irish traditional fishermen

I am contacting you regarding the hardships being visited on traditional fishermen by the draconian policies of inland fisheries Ireland (IFI) … fishermen have always been survivors from biblical times and we have understood periods of natural bounty to great scarcity.

In Ireland the first settlements were on rivers lakes and estuaries where our ancient origins began - this has sustained us for thousands of years - through famine, penal times, rebellion and wars, but we cannot sustain the policies of Inland inland Fisheries Ireland as each commercial fishery they control is closed using different scientific approaches in every fishery to fit the agenda of closing the fisheries.

This has caused financial and social ruination and tragically, in some cases, even deaths - such as in the well-reported case of the Bolger brothers in Waterford who died together because their boat was too small for sea fisheries when there traditional fisheries was closed to them.

The discrimination is rampant among IFI staff as traditional fishermen are termed NETMEN in a derogatory meaning... no one represents traditional fishermen on the IFI board and no one represents us on the standing scientific committees.

A common belief among Ireland’s traditional fishermen is that the IFI have put men in early graves caused by much suffering and, as someone who has represented traditional fishermen in the past, it's been apparent for many years that the IFI puts the sport of the well-off and the gentry above the needs of the people who have always depended on our traditional fisheries as a way of life - the cornerstone of our communities.

The March addition of the Marine Times newspaper featured excellent reporting on the issues.

I hereby appeal to St Vincent de Paul to intercede on behalf of the minority community of traditional fishermen.

Yours sincerely,

Sean Doherty,

Harbour constable Cheekpoint /fishermen's association

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