Newstalk
Newstalk

17.04 11 Jun 2019


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Talks between the Irish and Scottish governments about fishing near Rockall island will intensify this week.

The dispute was discussed at Cabinet meetings in both countries today - and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says both governments would like to see the situation 'de-escalated'.

There have been fresh tensions since late last week over ownership of the rock and the fishing ground around it.

Rockall is an uninhabited rock some 400km west of the Donegal coast, and ownership of it has long been in dispute between Ireland and the UK.

Rockall File photo of the Irish Navy LÉ Róisín at Rockall, 12-10-2012. Image: Óglaigh na hÉireann

On Friday, Tánaiste Simon Coveney said he had received a letter from the Scottish government about Rockall.

It threatened to deploy vessels in the area to take "enforcement action" against any Irish vessels found fishing within 12 miles of Rockall.

Scottish authorities said they'd take begin taking action from last weekend, but Irish vessels have defied the warning.

The Irish Government, meanwhile, has rejected the threat from Scotland - reiterating its “longstanding position" that Irish vessels are entitled to access to Rockall waters.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Leo Varadkar told TDs he wants to see a resolution to the dispute.

He explained: "This matter was discussed both at our Cabinet meeting this morning, and by the Scottish government at theirs.

"We've agreed that dialogue should continue between the Irish and Scottish governments - there have been close contacts at official level, and they'll continue.

"It has been agreed that now a process of intensified engagement will take place, led by senior officials from both administrations. I think it's fair to say both administrations would like to see this matter de-escalated."

Reporting by Sean Defoe and Stephen McNeice
Main image: File photo of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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