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Written Answers. - Fishing Vessel Licences.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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 280. Mr. O'Shea Information on Brian O'Shea Zoom on Brian O'Shea  asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources Information on Dermot Ahern Zoom on Dermot Ahern  the proposals he has to meet the concerns of the Dungarvan Sea Angling Club and the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24665/02]

Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern Zoom on Dermot Ahern The Merchant Shipping (Passenger Boat) Regulations were signed by my predecessor on 5 June last. The regulations were due to come into effect on 6 June 2003. However, in light of the Fethard tragedy, I announced my intention to bring forward the commencement date to 1 January 2003.

I have agreed to meet the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers later today. I appreciate their concerns and those of angling clubs such as Dungarvan Sea Angling Club regarding the possible effects of the new regulations may have on sea angling festivals and competitions particularly where there may be difficulties in bringing old fishing vessels up to the required safety standard. However, as Minister, my primary concern is to enhance safety at sea and on inland waterways. While sea angling festivals are of importance in tourism terms we cannot build our tourism industry on a poor safety regime. There is a long-term benefit to the tourism industry in being able to demonstrate that the highest safety standards are adhered to in sea angling and I would urge sea angling clubs and festival organisers to avail of the boats that are already licensed.

I have already informed the House that I have made available a once off grant of up to €20,000 to the IFSA towards the cost of acquiring licensed boats for the World Boat Angling Championships. The IFSA has also been informed that a boat licensed to operate in a particular area would be given the flexibility to operate in a different area solely for the purpose of a sea angling competition.

To facilitate boat owners affected by the new regulations my Department has recently held five information seminars at different locations around the country. I would encourage any boat [1087] owners involved to contact my Department directly to discuss licensing requirements for their vessels as soon as possible.

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