CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - TRESPASSING OF TRAWLERS.

To ask the Minister for Fisheries whether his attention has been called to the constant trespassing of trawlers within prohibited limits; whether such trespassing is calculated to do serious injury to the Irish Sea Fisheries; and whether, in view of the impossibility of preventing it without efficient patrol service, he will endeavour to obtain the return of the "Helga" for the service of his Department, or will endeavour to provide some other vessel or vessels to protect the Irish Sea Fisheries.

My attention has been called to the constant trespassing of trawlers within prohibited limits; and I am aware that such trespassing is calculated to do serious injury to the Irish Sea Fisheries.

Owing to the diversion of the fishery cruiser "Helga" to other service, the marine police work off our coasts has, in the past few months, been weakened. I am, however, definitely assured that the cruiser will very shortly be available for her normal duties; and this, together with such temporary measures as have been adopted will, it is hoped, prove successful in reducing this illegal trawling.

I wish, however, to make it clear that, even under the best conditions, one fishery cruiser, having an all-Ireland "beat" of something like 2,000 miles, could not possibly cope effectively with this menace of illegal trawling. Scotland has five such fishery cruisers as against our one. I trust I may count on the support of the Deputy when, later on, I come to the Dáil with a proposal for a provision of one or two additional fishery cruisers. The work of developing Irish fisheries, with which I am charged, is most seriously affected by these infractions of our trawling limits. Some idea of the number of such offences is conveyed by the fact that since the s.s. "Helga" was first commissioned for this work, 258 prosecutions were undertaken and 248 convictions obtained.