Penalty points system for fishermen unconstitutional

The High Court has made formal orders striking down as unconstitutional provisions of a penalty points system for fishermen who engage in illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing.

Penalty points system for fishermen unconstitutional

Mr Justice Tony O’Connor was told that since he struck down the law in January, the marine minister had replaced regulations covering the penalty points system.

He found the system introduced by the minister does not require that established systems for independent adjudication and recourse to the courts can be ignored.

The minister, in exercising powers allowing this State to give effect to EU regulations, had failed to recognise the absence of principles and policies to introduce a novel way of determining serious infringements through the imposition of penalty points on the holders of fishing licences, he said.

The case was brought by the licence holder and by the master of Tea Rose trawler which was detained by sea fisheries protection officers at Castletownbere, Co Cork, on April 7, 2015.

Mr Justice O’Connor was yesterday told the minister had revoked the original statutory instrument introducing the regulations and signed a new instrument in its place.

The judge made orders that the original statutory instrument was outside the minister’s power and unconstitutional.

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