Blockade of Dingle port condemned by fishing organisations

Dingle blockade/ Fishermen

Seven of the largest fishing organisations in the country are condemning blockades at Dingle and Castletownbere ports.

On Monday, over 25 fishermen in Dingle gathered to block Spanish and French boats from docking at the pier.

The local fishermen said they were concerned over the possible threat posed by the boats and crew in relation to the spread of coronavirus.

A statement condemning the action has been issued by the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO), Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation (ISEFPO), Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO), Castletownbere Fishermman Co-Op, Clogherhead Fishermen’s Co-Op, Galway and Aran Fishermen’s Co-Op and Foyle Fishermen’s Co-Op.

They say the blockades were unnecessary, alarmist, without any reasonable nor rational foundation and would only serve to damage the Irish industry in the long run.

The groups reassured the public that extremely strict and enhanced conditions apply with regard to movement of crew in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Transport has introduced emergency measures for all vessels entering Irish ports whereby a “Maritime Declaration of Health” must be furnished ahead of arrival and entry may be refused due to incomplete reporting.

This along with existing HSE and Government guidelines means there is a double layer of protection.

The group says preventing trawlers access to Irish ports puts a critical food supply in jeopardy and should not be repeated.

It adds there is a cordial and professionally-sound working relationships with their French and Spanish counterparts.