As the Deputy is aware, on 20 March 2018, I signed into force the European Union (Common Fisheries Policy) (Point System) Regulations 2018, SI 89 of 2018. However, SI 89 was annulled by Dáil Eireann on 29 May 2018. SI 89 would appear to be the first SI to be annulled in the history of the State. Given this complex situation and combined with the infringement proceedings taken against Ireland by the European Commission, I requested legal advice from the Attorney General on the matter. This advice has been received and I am considering the next steps with my legal advisers.
The EU Fisheries Control Regulation 1224/2009 and the European Commission Implementing Regulation 404/2011 introduced points systems for serious infringements of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy, CFP, committed by the licenceholder of a fishing vessel and, separately, the master. These are intended to complement sanctions and promote compliance and were required to be in place on 1 January 2012. Both regulations went through the ordinary legislative procedures at EU level, which would have included widespread consultation with interested parties, including the member states, advisory councils, NGOs and the fishing industry. The matter has also been discussed at industry liaison meetings over the years. The EU regulations are highly prescriptive in relation to licenceholders, leaving little room for further negotiation.
Ireland is facing EU infringement proceedings for non-implementation of the required EU points system. In addition, the European Commission has formally notified that all or part of the EU interim payments related to control and enforcement, worth €37.2 million in EU funding, may have to be suspended indefinitely until Ireland complies with the requirements of the control regulation and implements the required EU points systems. I am fully committed to delivering on Ireland's legal obligations in this regard at the earliest possible date.