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The battle for the Irish fishing industry - slow but steady progress

It would appear that the tide is very slowly turning in the Irish fishing industry’s battle for justice against an uncaring Government and a greedy EU.

This fight is still, and will be for some time to come, a huge challenge but the major efforts, going back to last February, by strong industry supporters such as the IFSA, IFPEA, IS&WFPO, Marine Times,, Tom McSweeney, Michael Collins (Ind. TD), Padraig MacLochlainn (SF TD), fishermen and the people of coastal communities nationwide, is slowly lifting the lid on the long-standing media suppression of the fishing industry and of this Government’s neglect of Ireland’s marine resources.

Undoubtedly the peaceful demonstration earlier this week in Cork went a long way towards helping this and with, for once, (almost) pro industry articles in The Irish Times as a result, backed by interviews taken by much social media news coverage and radio stations nationwide, this has been a small but effective turning point for this industry to get its message across.

And whilst fishing vessels from as far north as Greencastle and Killybegs wanted to be part of the Cork protest, it was felt that it was too much of a journey but that the expected future demonstration in Dublin in the near future will be backed by most of those who weren't able to make the trip to Cork.

In a timely fashion, 24 hours after the Cork demonstration, the Donegal Democrat newspaper published a three-page feature on the crisis facing the industry and, albeit primarily focussed on Co. Donegal, it was yet another chance to reach out to the public.

Such opportunities have been very few and far between for this industry in the past decade and must be eagerly grasped in the bid to continue to highlight the sheer dismissal by this weak Government who refuse to defend the fishing industry and the marine regions against external (EU) and internal (Dept. Marine and SFPA) corruption.

But sitting back and thinking “job done” at this point will be a grave error – we haven’t even begun this fight but we have certainly set the wheels in motion to give the few politicians who actually are on our side some ammunition to fight for our cause and keep the pressure on at Government level.

We as an industry must strike while the iron is hot and keep the pressure up to try to continue to gain media and public sympathy for the injustices within this industry.

Until such time as we see a full national fleet protest in Dublin Port - either peaceful or otherwise, which I believe will be sooner rather than later, we must keep in the public eye – on social media, newspaper articles, emailing our local public representatives and most of all, keep telling the public of the plight of thousands of Irish men and women who are facing loss of employment and the decimation of their coastal communities purely because this Government refuses to stand up to the EU and to their own marine civil servants.

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