Irish fishers to peacefully disrupt Russian military exercises off coast of Cork
"Can you imagine if the Russians were applying to go onto the mainland of Ireland to go launching rockets, how far would they get with that?"
A group of Irish fishers are set to peacefully disrupt planned military exercises by the Russian Navy in Irish waters next month.
Russia plans on holding naval exercises 240 kilometres off the southwest coast of Ireland in the first week of February.
Chief Executive Officer of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, Patrick Murphy, spoke on RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland about the planned action.
"What we're planning is to try and protect the biodiversity and the marine life, all marine life, in that area," Murphy said.
"We've seen many studies about noise pollution and the effect on whales and dolphins.
"You've seen reports from the whales and dolphin groups where there's shore activity where you see these animals being beached?
"They are beached because of interference with their sonar and the way that they communicate, so imagine what's going to happen outside this area, and this is a very important area for our fishermen," Murphy added.
Murphy emphasised that the livelihoods of fishers and fishers' families were at risk due to potential issues arising from the military exercises.
"We've already seen 25% of what we were allowed to catch taken from us in the Brexit negotiations, and the cure to that is to wipe out one-third of the fleet again? Another 60 boats are looking to be decommissioned by this Government," Murphy asked.
"We’re entitled to go fishing outside here, this is our waters.
"Let me put it to you this way and for everyone else to understand this; can you imagine if the Russians were applying to go onto the mainland of Ireland to go launching rockets, how far would they get with that?
"It's no different to fishermen, this is our ground, this is our farm, this is where we earn our living.
"Why should someone be allowed to come in and do that in our waters, in our territorial waters?"
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said that he has told the Russian ambassador in Ireland that the planned naval exercises by Russia are not welcomed by the Irish Government.