Irish fishing groups divided on Treaty vote –

Irish fishing groups divided on Treaty vote Published:  28 September, 2009

THE majority of Irish fishermen are expected to vote ‘no’ in this week’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

But fishing organisations are divided on the issue which continues to create a stir and strong feelings in the Irish Republic. Next Friday, the people of Southern Ireland, having rejected Lisbon last year, will vote on the Treaty on Friday for the second time in just 18 months.

The influential Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation are suggesting that its members should vote ‘yes’, not because it supports the European Union Common Fisheries Policy, but because it believes the treaty offers better long term prospects for the country’s fishing industry.

The executive is arguing that rejecting the treat will not change the CFP. However, now that the EU’s entire fish policy is up for a major review it would be better for Ireland to stay in where its MPs would have a stronger voice over any changes.

This view is not shared by the south-west based Irish Fishermen’s Organisation has argued that fishing companies are being driven out of business by EU policies.

The Irish fishermen on the “no vote” side have some celebrities on their side. One of them is Jim Corr, leader and sole male member of the 1980s Corrs girl band who has urged people to reject the treaty for the sake of the fishing industry. He said: ‘We gave the EU 200 billion euros worth of our fishing stock. The fishing industry has been decimated as a result.’ However, the Irish people as a whole are expected to vote ‘Yes’ this time.