The fishing industry is preparing for a legal battle against Marine Minister Michael Creed.
“How would you feel if you were declared guilty of an offence by the State, without anything being proven against you? How would you feel if you were penalised by the State even after a Court declared you innocent?” asked the Chief Executive of Castletownbere Fish Producers’ Organisation in West Cork, Patrick Murphy.
The Minister has told the industry he intends to reintroduce a penalty points system for fishing offences which was struck down by the High Court last year and is under appeal by the State to the Supreme Court. Without waiting for that Court’s decision Minister told fishermen’s organisations at a meeting that he will reintroduce the system, stating that it is necessary to meet EU requirements.
The industry accepts that a system must be created. “We dispute that it is outside of the Courts system by which every other citizen is treated. The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority can decide guilt, impose without a Court hearing and keep them on a licence, even if the accused fisherman is found innocent in Court.
“Imagine if penalty points were imposed on motorists by Gardai even if Courts held them innocent. No other Irish people are being treated as badly as fishermen,” said CEO Murphy.
Cork solicitor Dermot Conway, who successfully led the previous legal challenge against the penalty points system, said there will be another one. “Why is this Minister in such a rush to step outside the Court system and all the safeguards that it gives?” he asked.
“The Government is hammering fishermen,” said Patrick Murphy.
“The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse.” So said Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who was an MP in the House of Commons for many years.
His words came to mind when Bord Pleanala announced thre 7th deferral of a decision about Indaver’s proposed toxic and general waste incinerator for Ringaskiddy.
“The Planning Board has a lot of power over people’s lives. Time Cork TDs Challenged the way the board has treated the community,” I was told this week.
“Deferring to December 19 is deliberately to destroy Christmas.”
The site location was again highlighted when ex-hurricane Ophelia hit the harbour.
“The location becomes more unsuitable. Two Planning Inspectors have recommended refusing the proposal with the site an issue, upheld by the 2011 Board,” said the Cork Harbour Alliance for a Safe Environment.
What is the purpose of planning inspectors if their recommendations are rejected?
The earliest-known marine navigation tool ever discovered has been identified, according to researchers at Warwick University in England.
It was excavated three years ago from the wreck of a Portuguese ship which sank during a storm in the Indian Ocean in 1503.
The ship was part of a group led by Explorer Vasco da Gama. The navigation tool has been identified as an Astrolabe, dating from between 1495 and 1500, used to measure the altitude of the sun. It is made of bronze, is 17.5 centimetres in diameter and inscribed with the emblem of Don Manuel the First, who was then King of Portugal.
Ireland’s seafood sector has sales valued at €939 million, according to the latest statistics. It provides 11,000 full-time jobs.