Business of Joint Committee

Regarding correspondence item No. 292 and due to the fishing discussion we had on April 26, I wish to read something very briefly into the record. There have been a number of press releases and letters issued by fishing organisations since our discussions at this committee on 26 April 2017. One statement by the Killybegs fishermen's organisations quotes me correctly in places but misquotes my statement in other places. When I spoke of imbalance at the meeting on 26 April 2017, I stated there was an imbalance in the numbers in attendance only.

Much has been made of the fact we did not send a report to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine. It is not usual practice for a committee to send reports to Ministers after meetings and it would be highly unusual for a committee to send a report of its meeting to a Minister of a Department outside the direct remit of the committee. When a committee does take this decision, it is only on the basis of all the members of the committee being involved to make that decision following a comprehensive consideration of the evidence given. Neither was the case in the meeting of 26 April 2017. As a point of information, a public record of all meetings are available on the Oireachtas website and is available to all, including all Government Ministers.

The committee will, as previously agreed, lay its report on what it takes to sustain a viable rural community before the Houses of the Oireachtas when it has completed and agreed this report. The committee will then present this report to the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs for her consideration. The report will include the relevant evidence presented to the committee by all witnesses who have appeared before it and engaged with it.

We will now send a letter to the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine asking it to investigate urgently the issue of fishing quotas by inviting in the fishing organisations throughout the country. Is that agreed? Agreed.

The joint committee adjourned at 6.25 p.m. until 2.15 p.m. on Wednesday, 21 June 2017.