Sunday 22 October 2017

Brexit could reignite row over Rockall, warns Ó Cuív

Sean O’Donoghue, of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation in Co Donegal, said ownership of the actual rock would not be in dispute but Brexit would create an access issue (Stock picture)
Sean O’Donoghue, of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation in Co Donegal, said ownership of the actual rock would not be in dispute but Brexit would create an access issue (Stock picture)

Michael McHugh

Brexit could reignite an age-old controversy over the tiny island of Rockall off the Northern Ireland coast, Fianna Fáil's Éamon Ó Cuív has warned.

The rocky outcrop has been the subject of diplomatic tussles between Ireland and Britain over the surrounding fisheries and oil-rich sea bed. Its sovereignty was finally settled in Scotland's favour in 2014 after being sparred over for decades.

But its ownership could be visited again amid fears Brexit will lead the British to try to ban international use of the area.

"There is a strong desire by many in the UK fishing industry to 'pull up the drawbridge' and push for a ban on non-UK fishing fleets fishing in UK waters so that the currently shared fishing zone will be the UK's alone," Mr Ó Cuív said.

Sean O'Donoghue, of the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation in Co Donegal, said ownership of the actual rock would not be in dispute but Brexit would create an access issue.

"We can fish at the minute in Rockall as we have fishing rights but when the UK leaves it will no longer be part of the Common Fisheries Policy."

Irish Independent

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