independent

Sunday 16 June 2019

Fishermen protest over lack of access

Say they can't fish from home port despite promises

Mark Kinsella, Peter Toole, Johanna Toole, Bernie O’Toole, Aoibhe Tolle, Oscar Toole, Lisa Murphy and Hugo Toole at the fishermen’s protest at Greystones Harbour
Mark Kinsella, Peter Toole, Johanna Toole, Bernie O’Toole, Aoibhe Tolle, Oscar Toole, Lisa Murphy and Hugo Toole at the fishermen’s protest at Greystones Harbour

Brendan Keane

Fishermen staged a protest in Greystones last weekend to highlight their anger and frustration at being barred from what is their home port.

They mounted a 'fish landing' protest in Greystones Harbour on Saturday.

Three boats, skippered by Ivan Toole, Tim Storey and Peter Ryan, landed their catch in a deliberate breach of bylaws.

Their actions reignited a protest that has been ongoing since work began on the new harbour in 2008.

At that time fishing boats were deprived of access to their moorings but were told berths would again be provided once the new harbour opened, however, they say subsequent harbour bylaws drafted by Wicklow County Council officials effectively excluded fishing boats by preventing them landing any catch and imposing impossibly high fees.

Saturday's protest was the first action of a new campaign as the fishermen hope to retain the right to return to their home port and carry out their business locally.

Some of the Greystones boats have to berth as far away as Dun Laoghaire and from there travel to their traditional fishing grounds off Bray Head and Greystones, to fish.

They then have to return to south Dublin to land their catch before driving it back to Greystones and other locations to sell.

In a statement issued to this newspaper on behalf of the fishermen concerned, by Public Eye, they said every harbour built here has been used by fishing boats - until this one.

'Fishing has long been a way of life and source of income and food for local families,' said the fishermen in the statement.

'These families' livelihoods are now under threat due to their exclusion from Greystones harbour and the untenable conditions there, high fees, restraints and the privatisation of what was a public amenity.'

Fishing families in the area are appealing for public support as well as they step up their campaign.

Councillor Jennifer Whitmore expressed support for the campaign through her social media page on which she said: 'I've always believed that the fishing boats should have been accommodated in the new harbour.'

'I really hope that something can be done to enable Greystones to have its little fishing fleet back,' she added.

Bray People

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