EU PRESIDENT IN COUNCIL DISCUSSES KEY CONCERNS
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."
Notes for editors
· 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.