Failure to implement new fishing laws may cost €40m

The Government has warned that opposition to a new fishing points system and the failure to implement new EU laws could cost Ireland almost €40m.

Michael Creed.

As part of a Dáil private member’s motion, Fianna Fáil will this week push for Ireland to tweak EU rules on fishing quotas and for the points system to be avoided.

The Cabinet will hear today that this could cost as much as €40m when lost grants and potential fines are accounted for in the fishing industry.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said in recent days that EU infringement proceedings against Ireland for non-implementation of the regulations “could cost taxpayers €40m plus”.

On March 20, Mr Creed signed into law the EU fisheries regulation, which establishes a points system that will apply to a sea-fishing boat when a serious infringement of Common Fisheries Policy rules is detected within Ireland’s 200-mile fishery zone.

The EU has already warned about Ireland’s failure to date to implement the changes.

It has also led to the suspension of funding under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund operational programme.

The European Commission has suspended contributions including €2.6m in 2017 and a further €4m this year. This figure will accrue to €37m, the Government has said.

There is significant potential of further fines arising from the commission’s infringement proceedings, it believes.

The Fianna Fáil motion proposes to scrap the points system.

If this is passed in the Dáil, the Cabinet will be told today that it will lead to infringement proceedings being lodged against Ireland.

The motion is being led by Fianna Fáil TD Pat the Cope Gallagher.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Shane Ross will today also table proposals to Cabinet to bring train drivers into line with bus and tax drivers in relation to drink-driving legislation.

Train drivers will be over the limit if there is 20mg of alcohol in their blood per 100ml of blood.

Mr Ross said: “[Today] I will bring forward for discussion with my Cabinet colleagues important new provisions to further enhance railway safety and ensure consistency in standards applied for train drivers and professionals like bus, taxi, or HGV drivers on the road.”

The Cabinet is also expected to consider the latest developments in the abortion referendum campaign, ahead of the public heading to the polls on Friday.

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