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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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January 2004

20 January 2004


SNP Euro-MP Ian Hudghton MEP today in Brussels held private talks with Irish Fisheries Minister Mr Dermot Ahern TD.  Mr Ahern, acting in his role as EU President in Council, is a key figure in shaping the European fisheries agenda during the next six months of the Irish Presidency of the EU.  During the meeting Mr Hudghton highlighted areas of key concern to Scotland's fishing communities.

After the meeting, Mr Hudghton said:

"It is perhaps a mark of the gravity of the current Scottish fishing crisis that the Minister kindly agreed to meet with me today.  During the meeting I was able to articulate the strength of feeling in Scotland surrounding the current situation and highlight some of the key areas of concern to our fishermen.

"Mr Ahern showed a deep understanding of the issues affecting our coastal communities.  We discussed, of course, in detail the immediate threat to our industry in the wake of December's disastrous Council decisions.  We also had an opportunity to explore some of the other issues of relevance to Scotland - such as access rights and meaningful regional decision making bodies.

"Throughout our meeting Mr Ahern seemed genuinely interested in the concerns of the Scottish industry.  It was, indeed, a breath of fresh air to speak to a Minister who has a knowledge and understanding of fisheries issues - in contrast with the London ministers we normally have to deal with.  It truly is a tragedy that Scotland - unlike Ireland - is unable to depend on a minister to fight tooth and nail for us at the top table in Europe."


Dermot Ahern TD is Ireland's Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources.  During the Irish Presidency of the EU he will chair all meetings of the Fisheries Council.

Mr Ahern was in Brussels to attend a meeting of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee.  He met privately with Mr Hudghton after the committee meeting and before returning to Dublin.

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