Ivan and fishing crew stage harbour protest
Fishing boat skipper Ivan Toole drives to Dun Laoghaire every day to prepare his boat, bringing the 'Golden Venture' vessel back to fishing grounds at Greystones.
The round trip costs around €150 extra in fuel per day for Ivan, who comes from five generations of local fishermen.
Mr. Toole and his crew held a demonstration at Greystones Harbour last Friday, landing their catch at the town's marina.
The fishermen have not had access to the harbour area to moor for the past seven years. While the albeit incomplete harbour opened almost two years ago, the fishermen must still use Dun Laoghaire.
'We got a lot of support on Friday,' said Ivan, who said that prior to construction on the new marina, the fishermen were 'promised all sorts of things' including water and electricity.
The other focus of their protest was the terms of draft harbour by laws drawn up by Wicklow County Council. They said that the clauses covering commercial fishing are so restrictive that they would prevent fishermen carrying on their business in the harbour.
'The only right fishing crews would have under these by laws would be to moor their boats. No storage facilities, no bait, and no sales would be permitted. To fishermen, the harbour would be only a boat park, and not a normal harbour where buyers can come direct to fishing boats to negotiate and buy fish.'
They landed a fresh catch of 200 kilos of lobsters on the north pier on Friday afternoon, with a crowd of supporters cheering and waving banners.
Ivan explained that, in the original plans, there was supposed to be access for fishing trawlers at the south pier. This has not yet materialised.
He added that two weeks ago a senior representative of Sisk promised a gate, mooring cleats, an area to drive their van in, and space to collect the catch.
'He was to have all that work done two weeks ago and it didn't happen,' said Ivan. The boat remained moored at Greystones yesterday as the crew take a few days off. They continue to fish and land fish at Greystones as a protest.
A spokesman for BJ Marine, which operates the marina, said that they are not the authority responsible for this issue. There was no answer to a call made to a Sisk representative, and a senior manager was on holidays at the time of going to press.