Minister for the Marine Michael Creed has accused Opposition parties of “acting recklessly” after a Dáil vote to cancel out legislation on penalty points for serious fishing offences.
A Fianna Fáil motion annulling the statutory instrument and calling for a fairer penalty points system was carried by 80 votes to 54 on Tuesday.
The motion, proposed by Leas-Cheann Comhairle and Fianna Fáil marine spokesman Pat "The Cope" Gallagher, was supported by Labour, Sinn Féin and a number of Independent TDs. The Social Democrats, Green Party and seven Independents, including Cabinet members Denis Naughten and Shane Ross, voted with Fine Gael.
Four fishing industry organisations have welcomed the vote outcome, stating they are in favour of a penalty points system that allows for appeal to the courts.
The Irish Fish Producer's Organisation, the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation, the Irish South and West and the Irish South and East Fish Producers' organisations said a High Court ruling in 2014, upheld by the Supreme Court, had found the current legislation to be unconstitutional in not allowing for fair procedures.
Mr Creed said he was "extremely disappointed" that a number of parties and Independent TDs had taken "this unprecedented step" , and said that to date no party had put forward an alternative legislative proposal.
He said he had offered briefings and consultations as far back as November 2017.
Mr Creed noted that Ireland faces EU fines for noncompliance with penalty points, introduced as part of an EU-wide system within the Common Fisheries Policy. He noted that a letter of formal notice of infringement proceedings was issued by the European Commission on May 17th.
Mr Gallagher expressed delight at the vote outcome, and said the current legislation “focused too much power with the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority” and gave it a “domineering role in the various processes”.