Since the UK formally left the European Union back in January, negotiations have been gridlocked with fishing rights and quotes being one of the main issues during talks. But with less than a month before the end of the transition period, fears for the future of Ireland’s fishing industry have erupted.
Last week, Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue attended a virtual meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.
Other ministers from France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium all also attended.
During the meeting, Mr McConalogue urged Mr Barnier to not back down on fishing rights and to not agree to any short-term agreement on fisheries.
He also warned how in the event of no deal and EU vessels being denied access to UK waters, Ireland could face serious difficulties over the displacement of EU fishing activity.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr McConalogue warned the country’s fishing industry is in a “particularly vulnerable position” as it shares waters with the UK.
He said: “Ireland’s fishing industry needs a strong and stable EU/UK fisheries agreement.
“Our fishing industry is in a particularly vulnerable position as Ireland shares its main fish stocks and its waters on three sides with the UK and needs to retain access to UK waters and to shared resources.
“I appreciated the opportunity again today to meet with Mr Barnier and outline again Ireland’s serious concerns in relation to the potential impacts for Ireland’s fishing industry if a fair and balanced Fisheries Agreement with the UK is not reached.
READ MORE: Panicked Ireland attacks UK for refusing to extend Brexit transition
Micheal Gove told Sky News there are three things which remain as sticking points in negations.
He said: “The EU still wants to take the lion’s share of the fish in our waters which is just not fair given we are leaving the EU.
“The second thing is that the EU still wants us to be tied to their way of doing things.
“The third thing is what happens if there is a dispute.
“The EU is at the moment reserving the right if there is a dispute, not quite to rip everything up, but really to impose some quite penal and tough restrictions on us.
“We do not think that is fair.”
Taoiseach Micheal Martin has warned businesses to “get ready” for change and ruled out any possibility of a grace period for business after the transition period ends.
He said: “The bottom line is you need to get ready.
“That concern has been shared with me this morning in terms of preparation and readiness.
“There is still time for people to get ready.
“The deadline is January 1 because the UK will be outside of the customs union and outside of the single market.
“That’s the bottom line.
“It will be a third country in the context of the European Union.
“People just need to knuckle down now.
“If you work with the State agencies you will get a lot of assistance.”