There is disbelief in the fishing community over penalty points.
An Inishowen fisherman said there was “disbelief” at the manner in which the penalty point system had been introduced.
Speaking to Donegal Live, the Greencastle-based fisherman added: “Fishermen have no issue with the penalty point system per se. We know the EU has said penalty points need to be introduced, in fact, Ireland is being fined at the moment for not having them.
“However, there is sheer disbelief in the fishing community at the way the Taoiseach and acting Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Micheál Martin, has introduced them.
“The Statutory Instrument around penalty points was turned down in the Dáil a few years ago and, at that time, Micheál Martin was on the side of the fishermen. He has now signed something into law which he himself opposed back in the day. The fishing community is in disbelief.
“The Supreme Court ruled that the penalty point system for fishermen was unconstitutional because fishermen given points by the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency had no recourse to appeal. Even if they were found innocent in a court, the penalty points would stand and could result in the loss of their licence. Fisherman are being treated like second class citizens,” he said.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, has called on the Taoiseach to urgently clarify why he signed off on the Statutory Instrument that will impose penalty points on the fishing industry without consulting the industry.
He described the action as "deeply disturbing", considering the controversial history behind these enforcement measures.
"Micheál Martin knows full well the huge controversy around the proposed penalty points scheme over recent years.
"He needs to urgently to clarify why he signed off on this Statutory Instrument as an acting Minister for the Marine and without consulting with representatives of the Irish fishing industry," he said.
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