MEP meets with Donegal fishermen to discuss Brexit and livelihood concerns

"Visiting Donegal this week was very important for me" - Maria Walsh

MEP meets with Donegal fishermen to discuss Brexit and livelihood concerns

Maria Walsh, MEP with Sean O’Donoghue and members of the Killybegs Fishermens Organisation during her visit to the fishing town

MEP Maria Walsh  visited Killybegs and Arranmore earlier this week and listened to the concerns of various groups representing different aspects of the local fishing industry.

“I had a productive meeting with the board of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation and listened to their perspective on Brexit and the current state of the Irish fishing industry," she said.

“I sit on the fisheries committee in the European Parliament, so meeting with representative bodies like this is very important. It allows me to see the real and tangible impact of European Fishing policy on the livelihoods of men and women working in the industry here.

“I got to see two different classes of fishing boat, the Western Endeavour and the Rachel D first hand, as well as touring the very impressive Killybegs Seafoods Processing Facility," she said.

Ms Walsh also visited the new gourmet sea food shop, Atlantic Treasures Fish Stop, right in the middle of Killybegs.

"It was interesting to listen to the proprietor, Michael O’Donnell, on how fishing has benefited the community.

“It was striking to see the difference in scale of the different companies working out of Killybegs first hand.

The MEP added she was also delighted to visit the spectacular island of Aranmore and meet with local fishermen there.

MEP Maria Walsh on Arranmore island with some of the locals involved in the fishing industry

"They have a different set of concerns relating to fishing and the island way of life.

“One thing we cannot underestimate is the tenacity of islanders. I was very impressed with the digital workspace, MODAM, part of the Grow Remote initiative. Here they have high-speed broadband, provided by Three, which has attracted the interest of people interested in remote working from around the world.

“It is essential that we protect the heritage of our islands and strive to make them viable and liveable. As society moves towards digitisation, it was fascinating to hear how modern concepts like the Internet of Things can impact islanders lives in a positive way."

She added: “Coming from a rural part of Mayo I understand the impact that rural depopulation has on both community’s way of life, and it was important for me to hear the challenges relating to the fishing industry on the island.

“While I have previously met with representatives of Irish fishing in Brussels, visiting Donegal this week was very important for me to contextualise the impact policy has on peoples livelihoods. We cannot underestimate the potential impact that the trade talks with the UK could have on the way of life here.

“As the MEP for Midlands Northwest, I will do my best to ensure the concerns of our communities are listened to at national and European level," she said.

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