The Scots getting a bit cheeky, it seems: 'Scotland warns Ireland it will force fishing boats to leave Rockall waters' (7 June 2019)
The Scottish government has warned the Irish Government it will send its fisheries patrol vessels to force Irish fishing boats to leave a 12-mile zone around Rockall, the tiny disputed island 260 miles west of the Co Donegal coast.
In a formal letter of notice, the Scottish external affairs minister Fiona Hyslop has warned the Irish Government that it will deploy its vessels to protect Scottish fishing rights around Rockall.
The Government here, which contests the Scottish claim on Rockall and also the claim of exclusive fishing rights, has condemned the move but on Friday the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Michael Creed briefed fishing industry representatives about the impending Scottish action.
The diplomatic dispute has been festering for months, with the Scottish Government intensifying its complaints to Dublin about what it says is illegal fishing activity by Irish vessels around Rockall.
Last week, Ms Hyslop wrote to the Government to put it on formal notice of the impending enforcement activity, and she spoke to the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney on Friday.
The Government strongly rejects the Scottish claims.
In a statement this evening, the Irish Government said that its position “has been and remains that the waters around Rockall form part of Union waters under the Common Fisheries Policy, to which the principle of equal access for the vessels of all EU Member States applies. Irish vessels have operated unhindered in the Rockall zone for many decades fishing haddock, squid and other species.”
Mr Coveney said that it was “the longstanding position of the Irish Government is that Irish vessels are entitled to access to Rockall waters.
“We have never recognised UK sovereignty over Rockall and accordingly we have not recognised a territorial sea around it either. We have tried to work positively with the Scottish authorities and to deal with sensitive issues that flow from it in a spirit of kinship and collaboration. We very much regret that matters have reached this point and intend to do everything possible to achieve a satisfactory resolution,” he said...