Pringle welcomes changes to fishing penalty point system but calls for further reform

The Department of Agriculture announced today the Minister will introduce a new fishing penalty point system that will sequentially apply EU penalty points in conjunction with the prosecution process, unlike the current system which sees fishermen unfairly treated according to Independent TD Thomas Pringle.

 “I very much welcome the decision announced today by the Minister for Agriculture to change the current penalty point system. The Minister has confirmed that the assignment of points will not happen until the conclusion of any prosecution that is taking place.”

“I and many fishermen have campaigned long and hard for this change. I have repeatedly brought this issue up in the Dáil and through various means so it is good to see that progress is happening.”

“It means that now if the courts decide that an infringement did not take place that the points will not apply. This goes a long way to meeting the concerns of fishermen in the treatment of penalty points offences, however more reform is needed.”

“I would urge that the Department consider further changes including an assurance that if penalty points are applied to a license without a prosecution that adequate recourse to the courts is provided for in the system to ensure fair procedure is guaranteed. It is a basic principle in Irish law that recourse to the courts is provided for.”

“I will be speaking to the Minister directly in the Dáil this evening to seek further assurances on this and to discuss in more detail, the implications of these changes. I look forward to working closely with the Minister on this issue and other concerns regarding fishermen in Donegal and across the country” concludes Pringle.

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