More Irish ports to allow UK-registered fishing vessels to land catches

More Irish Ports To Allow Uk-Registered Fishing Vessels To Land Catches
A fishing vessel comes into the harbour in Howth, Co Dublin. Howth will be added to the designated ports list for international fishing vessels. Photo: PA
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Vivienne Clarke

Five more ports in the Republic will open to international fishing vessels to allow them land their catches from early next month, a move welcomed by the Northern Irish fish producers as “a step in the right direction”.

The decision was confirmed on Monday by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue. At present international vessels, including boats registered in the North, are allowed to use only the ports of Killybegs in Co Donegal and Castletownbere, Co Cork.


From February 1st, three Donegal ports, Greencastle, Rathmullan and Burtonport, as well as Ros an Mhíl (Rossaveal), Co Galway, and Howth in Co Dublin, will be added to the designated ports list.

Chief executive of the Anglo North Irish Fish Producers Organisation, Alan McCulla, told RTÉ News at One that while the announcement was a step in the right direction, there was still a lot to be done.

“Brexit created the problem, but we knew Brexit was coming and in preparation for Brexit the authorities in the North had designated seven ports right around the coast of Northern Ireland to handle catches from Irish vessels and vessels from other countries, we knew it was coming, we did it.

“Unfortunately the authorities in the South didn't do anything and kept Killybegs and Castletownbere with only two harbours that were designated up until the announcement today.”


He said that his members had asked for trade on the island continue as before, allowing tariff-free access to the EU market.

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Overall for fishermen across the UK, the fisheries part of the Brexit deal had been disappointing, he said. Expectation had been raised by the UK government.

“Unfortunately they couldn't live up to those expectations, nevertheless the deal that Northern Ireland fishermen got, had it been offered to us four years ago – there's no doubt that we would have taken it, because it does end some of the discrimination that Northern Ireland fishermen have had to cope with for over 30 years.

“It gives us a fair share of the catch and it does give us overall unhindered access to EU markets, tariff-free access. I'm not saying it's a good deal but it is another step in the right direction.”

However, Mr McCulla said he now feared that Northern Ireland fishermen could face internal UK discrimination. “That’s a battle that’s ongoing.”

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