HC Deb 19 May 1924 vol 173 cc1811-2
34 and 35. Lord STANLEY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether the final decision regarding the extra-territorial application of the bye-laws relating to fishing off the coast of the Irish Free State has yet been arrived at; and, if so, is he prepared to make known such decision now;

(2) whether he is aware of the fact that, notwithstanding his statement that pending the settlement of the question the Irish Free State has decided not to institute proceedings for infraction of the bye-laws outside the three-mile limit, a summons has actually been served on Mr. W. E. Ash, skipper of the trawler "Shackleton"; and whether he will make representations to the Irish Free State authorities regarding this subject?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that, despite the assurances given by the Irish Free State Government, summonses have been issued to British fishermen for alleged contravention of certain bye-laws; and whether, as the article of the Irish Free State Constitution embracing these bye-laws is still under consideration between the two Governments, he will approach the Free State Government with a view to having these summonses held up until a decision is arrived at?


I propose to reply to these questions together. It has quite recently been brought to my notice that proceedings are being taken in the Irish Free State in respect of alleged infractions of the Fishery Bye-laws outside the three-mile limit, and I have addressed a communication to the Free State Government on the subject last week. I am not in a position to make any further statement pending the receipt of a reply to this and earlier communications.


Can the right hon. Gentleman state when a decision is likely to be reached, not on the question of the summons, but in regard to the general fishing question?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the fishing along the Irish coast has been practically, ruined by trawlers subsidised by British companies outside?


That is not the question. The question is, can it be determined really by giving a definite date? As a matter of fact, the House may not be aware that the Irish Free State is acting in accordance with precisely the same Regulations as if there had been no Free State in existence; in other words, there is no change of law whatever, and the request that would be made to them would be to niter the British law rather than otherwise.