Wednesday 24 July 2019

Truce as fishermen hope for progress

The recent blockade and protest at Greystones Harbour held as part of the fishermen’s campaign to be accomodated in the harbour
The recent blockade and protest at Greystones Harbour held as part of the fishermen’s campaign to be accomodated in the harbour

Mary Fogarty

Progress has been made with regard to accommodating fishermen at Greystones harbour, after all stakeholders sat down for a meeting last Thursday.

All parties have agreed to examine a number of suggestions raised at the meeting. They include some kind of accommodation at the north pier, the potential installation of a pontoon at the public area, the use of the marina, and other ideas.

This followed a number of protests, the latest held the previous Saturday, when the skippers agreed to downgrade their blockade as all parties agreed to sit down to talk. The fishermen, their families and supporters are seeking a return to their home port, a decade after being removed for works on the marina.

The meeting took place at the offices of Greystones Municipal District and was attended by all six members of the district council, three fishermen (Ivan Tool, Tim Story and Eric O'Reilly), Sean Quirke of Wicklow County Council, and representatives of Sisk, Glenveagh BJ Marine, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, and district engineer Ruairí O'Hanlon.

Catahoirleach of Greystones Municipal District Cllr Tom Fortune chaired the meeting and encouraged everyone at the outset to focus on resolving the situation rather than on what has occurred in the past.

Fisherman Ivan Toole said that Sisk had some concerns regarding insurance, and they agreed to meet to discuss those details in greater depth.

The fishermen offered to leave the harbour for three weeks to establish what the situation was, and for Sisk and the fishermen to meet.

The main topic was how to go about resolving the situation regarding location for the fishermen to moor and land their catch.

'There were a lot of constructive suggestions,' said Ivan, who said there appeared to be the will on all sides to come up with a solution.

'BIM offered any support they could, be it financial or otherwise,' said Ivan.

He said that any solution will need the cooperation of BJ Marine. 'To be fair to them, as far as they are concerned, they leased an area,' said Ivan. 'We should have been included in the whole plan before any lease was handed out.'

He said that discussions are being carried out to see if potential ideas can be accommodated. 'We should know in the coming weeks,' said Ivan.

He said that they (the fishermen) want there to be a recognised fishermen's area in the harbour long after they themselves have retired.

Meanwhile, Ivan is cautiously optimistic. 'I do believe it will get sorted out,' he said.

Bray People