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IrelandVaradkar: Irish fishing rights around Rockall will change after Brexit

17:05  12 june  2019
17:05  12 june  2019 Source:   thejournal.ie

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The Taoiseach said there’s currently “no basis” for excluding Irish vessels from fishing in the waters.

Varadkar warns of 'terrible political miscalculation' in London over Brexit deal: Varadkar : Irish fishing rights around Rockall will © Artur Widak/NurPhoto Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ( Irish Prime Minister) speaks to the media outside the Government Buildings in Dublin, the next morning after UK Prime

Varadkar: Irish fishing rights around Rockall will change after Brexit © SNH, Marine Scotland/Crown Copyr Rockall off the Donegal coast (MArine Scotland/PA) TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that there is “no basis” for excluding Irish vessels from fishing in the waters around Rockall but accepted that this situation will change post-Brexit.

In a detailed answer delivered during today’s Leader’s Questions, Varadkar restated the government’s position that it accepts that Rockall exists within the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone but rejects the UK’s claim of sovereignty over the tiny sea islet.

Varadkar said that the Scottish government’s tougher line has been clear for a number of months.

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Scottish and Irish crews are between a rock and a hard place over Atlantic island fishing rights . Why is Scotland taking action now? The Irish government says Scotland first raised the issue in 2017 - the year after the Brexit vote - even though Irish crews have "legitimately" fished around Rockall

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“In relation to the position the Scottish government has taken, government was informed, the Tánaiste and Minister Creed were informed, several months ago that the Scottish had a view and an opinion that they had exclusive rights to fishing within 12 miles of Rockall and that they were minded to enforce that and that they were come back to us and give us notice before they would enforce it. And that obviously happened in the last week or so.”

Varadkar: Irish fishing rights around Rockall will change after Brexit © Wikimedia Commons Rockall and its surrounding countries. Ireland’s position is that there is no basis for excluding Irish fishing vessels from Rockall waters as they are legitimately pursuing EU fishing opportunities and have done so unhindered for decades. We believe any concerns should be handled through dialogue rather than universal enforcement action.

Fishing dispute breaks out between Scotland and Ireland

Fishing dispute breaks out between Scotland and Ireland At the centre of the row is the tiny island of Rockall in the North Atlantic.

It comes after Scottish ministers gave a warning to their Irish counterparts. They said they would take enforcement action against Rockall - an eroded volcano - lies 260 miles (418km) west of the The row between Scotland and Ireland broke out after increased activity from Irish vessels around Rockall .

But it may be that the possibility of Scottish fishery protection staff boarding Irish trawlers in the It is accepted in Dublin as well as Edinburgh that access to waters around Rockall will change if the UK leaves But Mr Varadkar did say that Irish vessels are legally within their rights fish around Rockall .

“The jurisdiction over the 12 mile area has long been disputed, the UK claims sovereignty over Rockall and thus a 12 mile territorial limit around it. The Irish government position has been and remains that we do not recognise this claim and that the waters around Rockall are part of the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone and a accordingly form part of the European waters under the Common Fisheries Policy, to which the principle of equal access to vessels of all European vessels including Irish vessels applies.”

A dispute over fishing near the Atlantic sea rock has escalated in the last week after Scottish Minister for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing accused Irish vessels of operating “illegally” in the area and suggested they could be boarded.

    Read: Explainer: Where is Rockall and why has it sparked tensions between the Irish and Scottish governments? >

In questioning Varadkar, Independent Cork South-West TD Michael Collins accused the government of ignoring the concerns of fishermen and said they were “furious with political parties”.

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"As regards the rock of Rockall , the Irish Government has consistently said that it should be dealt with It is accepted in Dublin as well as Edinburgh that access to waters around Rockall will change if And under the Common Fisheries Policy we believe they are in their rights to continue to fish in

The waters around the rock are rich in oil and gas opportunities, as well as fish . He made the comments after Scotland's Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing warned Irish vessels could be boarded for The area around Rockall is likely to be part of post- Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU.

“They want a standalone minister in this country whose sole responsibility is to fight for their rights, the same as their fellow Europeans,” Collins said.

Varadkar: Irish fishing rights around Rockall will change after Brexit © Oireachtas.ie Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Daail this afternoon. The deputy claimed that the Rockall dispute was symptom of government inaction in protecting fishermen.

In response, Varadkar said that government representatives have met with fishing groups and reassured them that their right to fish around Rockall will be defended.

“This is a question of the Scottish government on behalf the UK, or rather on their own bat, asserting sovereignty over Rockall and thereby claiming an exclusive zone over 12 miles around that,” Varadkar said.

We take a different view, when the Exclusive Economic Zones were drawn, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was applied and that treats uninhabited, uninhabitable rocks such as Rockall as if they do not exist. So we accept that Rockall is in United Kingdoms Exclusive Economic Zone, everyone does, but what we don’t accept is that Rockall has a 12 mile exclusive limit around it.

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“For so long as the United Kingdom is part of the European Union, these are European waters and Irish fishermen are entitled to fish for their quota and for non-quota species in any part of that UK Exclusive Economic Zone.”

“But obviously with Brexit that will change and obviously one thing that is not fully appreciated is that Irish fishermen take a lot of fish out of UK waters, maybe 35% of all the fish that we take comes out of UK waters including some of the most valuable species like shrimp and like mackerel and so on.”

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