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Minister Creed Confirms Early Delivery on Programme for Government Commitment on Penalty Points Issue

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD today met with the leaders of Irelands’ fish producer and exporting organisations. Minister Creed said that the meeting was “a very positive engagement and that he looked forward to working closely with all of the organisations on both the challenges and the opportunities for Ireland’s fisheries sector over the coming years.”

At today's meeting Minister Creed discussed a wide range of issues with industry representatives and, in particular, their concerns in relation to the implementation of the EU points system for serious infringements of the Common Fisheries Policy. On this matter, Minister Creed confirmed that upon taking office he requested that the Attorney General consider whether there is a way that the assignment of EU points for licence holders can await the completion of the prosecution process, while at the same time ensuring that Ireland is fully in compliance with its obligations under EU law.

Minister Creed commented: "Further to the Programme for Government commitment pertaining to the assignment of penalty points, I quickly sought advice from the Attorney General as prescribed in the document. Having now received this advice, I am satisfied to move on the introduction of a system for the sequential application of EU points in conjunction with the prosecution process, thus fulfilling the ambition outlined in the Partnership Programme.

The Minister acknowledged that this move was subject to addressing some important legal and administrative issues in order to ensure compliance with EU law. The Minister continued, “I have today listened to the concerns of industry and intend to report back to the Oireachtas as soon as I have finalised a way forward in the context of dealing with legal and administrative matters that are arising. However I am confident that these matters can be dealt with in a collaborative and constructive manner with all stakeholders.”

Amongst the other topics covered in today’s meeting were the potential impacts of ‘Brexit’ on the Irish fishing industry, the ongoing phasing in of the landing obligation or ‘discards ban’ under the new Common Fisheries Policy, the herring fishery off the north west coast, EU funding, decommissioning of fishing vessels, negotiations with Norway and the Faroes Islands and the Killybegs Fisheries Harbour Centre.

Minister Creed concluded “Today’s meeting was all about getting a deeper understanding of the issues facing the Irish fishing industry and I very much appreciated the positive engagement with industry leaders.