Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

“The Royal Navy will only be deployed to assist with fisheries protection and enforcement activities if requested to do so by the Northern Ireland Executive” – Political Dynamite in Laps of Sinn Féin Stormont Ministers

leave a comment »

Will the Stormont Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill authorize the British Navy to attack Irish and EU Fishery Vessels after Brexit on January 1 2021? Far-fetched? Hypothetical? Scare-mongering? Think again, dear reader.

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) “told the Belfast Telegraph that gunships will only be deployed around Northern Ireland if requested to do so.”

British Royal Navy gunships cannot patrol Northern Irish waters without Stormont permission

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/brexit/stormont-can-request-royal-navy-to-protect-fishing-waters-39859236.html?fbclid=IwAR1m25RBgxqvVQ162DA4pTj8KxIumOQ__jLsJHQVLx3ig7AZHwq_AwNLDdI

“The Royal Navy will only be deployed to assist with fisheries protection and enforcement activities if requested to do so by the Northern Ireland Executive as this is a devolved matter,” stated an MoD spokesperson.

Here’s that political dynamite question again. A simple answer is needed.

Will the Stormont Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill authorize the British Navy to attack Irish and EU Fishery Vessels after Brexit on January 1 2021?

Let’s demand a categorical answer : NO!

Update : the position in Scotland and Wales :

The Scottish government has ruled out any participation in UK ‘sabre rattling’ over fisheries. See related post: https://www.celticleague.net/news/scottish-government-distances-itself-from-use-of-force-over-fishing/. The Stormont government needs to follow the excellent Scottish example.

The Welsh devolved government is also responsible for UK fisheries policy – hopefully it will follow the excellent Scottish example and rule out deployment of the Royal Navy after January 1 2021. https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-01/180717atisn12396doc062.pdf

“Michelle O’Neill says No to Arlene Foster” – a refreshing thought

Say No to Royal Navy attacks on Fishermen and Fisherwomen in Stormont Waters

Charlie McConalogue (Fianna Fáil), the Dublin Government’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is anxious. The Donegal TD hopes the problem will go away, urging “the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to ensure that UK access to the single market is conditional on continued access share for EU fleets to British waters.” https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2020/1215/1184623-fisheries-brexit/

RTÉ Brussels Correspondent Tony Connelly reports :

Mr McConalogue said the UK’s promise to use the Royal Navy to intercept EU boats fishing in UK waters was “not helpful”.

“There’s a lot of stake and we need level heads,” he said.

The European Commission has published a contingency plan for fisheries in a ‘No Deal’ situation which would involve both sides continuing to allow reciprocal access to each other’s waters for a fixed period.

However, the UK has rejected any suggestion that European boats would continue to enjoy access to UK waters in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit.

If the UK closes its waters from 1 January, it could mean French, Belgian, German, Danish and Norwegian vessels, which have enjoyed historical access to UK fishing grounds, could seek to fish in Irish waters.

The Belfast Telegraph tells an interesting tale of British Brexit Gunboat Diplomacy, and the expected response of the French State.

“The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed that four Royal Navy gunboats have been placed on stand-by to guard British waters from EU trawlers if there is no agreement.

Reports also suggest that UK Government ministers are considering beefing up Navy powers in legislation to authorise them to board and arrest fishermen found to be contravening post-Brexit rules.

“Any request would go through under the usual MACA process (military assistance to civilian authorities).”

The UK Government’s move to deploy naval vessels in such circumstances would likely incense EU leaders.”

Tobias Ellwood, Conservative chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, called the threat “irresponsible” and warned it would damage Britain’s international reputation.

Military officials disagreed, however, with Admiral Lord West, a former chief of naval staff, arguing that fiery past clashes between fishermen in the Channel suggested armed forces intervention could be required.

Brussels has called for the status quo on fishing rights to continue for 12 months in the event of no-deal – a request that appears to have been rejected after Government revealed plans to scale up patrols.

In a speech at a climate change summit on Saturday, Mr Johnson appeared to take aim at French President Emmanuel Macron over the fishing row that has held up a Brexit deal.

Mr Macron is said to have threatened to veto a UK-EU deal after expressing dissatisfaction at the new quota terms being thrashed out for French fishermen.

In his closing remarks, the Prime Minister thanked summit co-host Mr Macron, adding that he knew the En Marche! leader “shares my keen interest in protecting the ecosystems of our seas”.

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs Dominic Rabb said it is “crazy” of the French to make “aggressive demands” when a no-deal scenario would leave their boats with “zero assured access” to UK fishing grounds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: