THE British Government should drop its baseless territorial claim over Lough Foyle before it causes any further economic and ecological damage, Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson has said.
The Foyle MLA was commenting after Stormont’s Agriculture committee received an update on the territorial dispute which has seen both the Dublin and London governments claiming ownership of the Lough.
Martina Anderson said: “This dispute has created a legislative limbo for the Loughs Agency who informed the committee that they have been unable to implement a robust aquaculture plan on the Lough.
“Twenty million pounds has also been lost in licensing revenue and there has been an upsurge in unregulated oyster catching which is likely to have a damaging impact on the environment and fish stocks.
“This economic and ecological damage is a direct result of Britain’s baseless claim over Lough Foyle.
“That claim should be dropped before any more damage is caused and Sinn Féin’s enhanced team in the Dáil will certainly be pressing for the Dublin Government to reassert the fact that Lough Foyle is and always has been part of Ireland.
“Lough Foyle is a key strategic asset for the North West and clearly its future is better served within the EU and under the protection of the various European environmental directives, the Common Fisheries Policy and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
“Brexit has therefore heightened the need to resolve this territorial dispute and I will be making urgent representations to Dublin’s Department for Foreign Affairs and the North-South Ministerial Council on the time ahead.”