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Russia stands down plans in Irish waters

Its interesting to note in the past few days that the Russian Government seem to have more respect for Irish fishermen than the Irish Government has.

What a turn of events these past few days when the might of Russian power stood down its plans to carry out missile-firing exercises in Irish waters and have instead agreed to relocate to outside of Ireland’s EEZ.

Despite the Irish Government trying to claim some glory in the final throws of this monumental shift in Russia’s military tactical plans, the Russian Embassy’s statement on the matter made clear that it was following a meeting with the Irish South & West Fishermen’s Producer Organisation (IS&WFPO) that consideration was given to the potential damage that could occur to the juvenile fish stocks in the area due to these military ‘war games’ taking place.

Huge credit must go to the IS&WFPO for showing the initiative, and for taking a pro-active approach in making contact with the Russian authorities to state the case of Irish fishermen – at a time when, once again, the Irish Government were standing around twiddling their thumbs and generally shrugging their shoulders in response to a foreign power deciding to carry out actions in Irish waters.

In the past couple of years, between the BREXIT outcome and the EU shafting Irish fishermen, the surrender of Rockall without so much as a whimper, and now standing idly by while Russia had planned to shoot missiles in Irish waters, one can’t help but think that if ever anyone wanted to invade and overthrow Ireland then it is now while this Government remains in power as not a shot in defence would be fired.

The IS&WFPO’s approach to Russia was not aggressive in any manner – it was a diplomatic but it was a clear no-nonsense statement that Irish fishermen would not stand and watch their juvenile fish stocks be possibly destroyed, and it was this polite but firm message that hit home and achieved results.

But with respect to this fishermen’s organisation, they should not have had to make this move alone – Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine Charlie McConogue, and the civil servants at the DAFM, should have been leading this charge and have in contact with the Russians long before the IS&WFPO to state the urgent concerns on behalf of Irish fishermen.

The Irish fishing communities have been aware for many years that Irish Governments will rarely defend Irish fish stocks or Irish fishing waters against anyone who wants a piece of it – but in this instance, to stand idly by until one of the fishing organisations took matters into its own hands (after which these same Irish politicians had the cheek to try to claim the glory for the outcome) represents a new low for our political leaders.

This saga also gives rise to the thinking that perhaps the Irish fishing industry should do more of this type of bypassing of the Irish political and civil servant anti-industry system and red tape and go directly to the source to do its negotiations in future.

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