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Minister McConalogue, TD, Officially Opens SFPA’s Port Office in Greencastle

Minister McConalogue, TD, Officially Opens SFPA’s Port Office in Greencastle

Pictured at the official opening of SFPA’s Port Office in Greencastle, Donegal, on the 28th April, are from left to right: Paschal Hayes, Executive Chairperson, SFPA; Joan Gilroy, Senior Port Officer, SFPA’s Port Office, Greencastle, and Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D

Minister McConalogue Announces the Designation of Three New Irish Ports for Landings by Northern Irish Vessels

Minister Charlie McConalogue, TD, officially opened the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority’s (SFPA’s) Port Office in Greencastle, Donegal, today, Friday 28th April 2023. Minister McConalogue also announced the designation of three new Irish ports for landings by Northern Irish vessels in County Donegal – Malin Head, Glengad and Bunagee which will be serviced by the SFPA in Greencastle. These ports will be additional to the seven ports already designated for such landings.

Greencastle is now one of twelve new ports designated by Minister McConalogue as EU entry ports for Northern Ireland registered vessels. Masters and operators of Third Country (non-EU) fishing vessels are required to adhere to the regulations pertaining to entry to and landing only in designated EU ports and to ensure that the masters of the vessels provide sufficient prior notification for such entry and landing.  Such reporting requirements exist for non-EU vessels entering EU ports. Under regulations designed to deter Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, the designated ports in Ireland for all non-EU vessels are limited to Castletownbere and Killybegs with additional access only for those vessels registered in Northern Ireland to the ports of Greencastle, Rathmullan, Burtonport, Ros an Mhíl, and Howth as well as today’s additions in Malin Head, Glengad and Bunagee. Designated ports are a critical component in an overall framework that seeks to ensure effective fisheries management and minimise the risk of IUU fishing.

The SFPA is Ireland’s competent regulatory authority for the regulation of sea-fisheries, seafood safety and seafood trade. The new SFPA Port Office has been established by this Government to mitigate the impact on the fisheries and seafood sector of the UK withdrawal from the EU. A substantial programme of work has been undertaken by the SFPA team in the Greencastle office to promote and enforce compliance with the EU Common Fisheries Policy, sea-fisheries legislation, and seafood safety law, all with the goal of ensuring the future sustainability of Ireland’s marine resources and assuring public trust in the quality and provenance of seafood.

The establishment of a permanent SFPA port office in Greencastle formed an important part of the measures undertaken by the SFPA to ensure regulatory preparedness and compliance with EU sea-fisheries legislation and fisheries conservation control following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. Import controls applicable to non-EU countries undertaken by the SFPA rose from an annual average of 800 pre-Brexit to over 3,000 post-Brexit, driven principally by pre-existing UK trade being reclassified as ‘Third Country’ trade. The volume of catch certificates* issued for export freight by the SFPA rose from approximately 200 to over 800 (with the UK accounting for 71%), while Third Country landings (the majority originating in the UK) rose to over 600.  The presence of the port office in Greencastle allows the SFPA to respond effectively and efficiently to the increased volume of activity.

Minister for Agriculture Food & Marine, Charlie McConalogue said:

“I am delighted to formally open the SFPA office here in Greencastle Co. Donegal which provides a vital port of entry and continuity to fishers and small vessels operating off the Donegal coast post-Brexit. In 2021, I previously designated five additional ports for landings by Britain and Northern Ireland-registered vessels, namely, Greencastle, Rathmullen, Burtonport, Ros a Mhíl and Howth. In addition to the Ports already designated for landings by Northern Ireland vessels, I am announcing today an extension to the landing hours for Greencastle as well as new designations for Malin Head, Glengad and Bunagee. The eight newly designated ports join Killybegs and Castletownbere, which continue to be designated for landings by vessels of any Third Country origin. I designated these additional ports having regard to amongst other things the previous level of activity by UK registered Northern Ireland vessels in the recent past.  The designation of the five additional ports was an important decision that allows fishers and small vessels in particular to continue landing at Irish ports following Brexit. The SFPA has undertaken significant work in putting in place the arrangements necessary, including additional staff, and now this Port office in Greencastle, to provide for these port designations. I am glad the outcome will mean many of those fishers will now have the opportunity to access a number of additional ports including this excellent facility in Greencastle.”

Paschal Hayes, Executive Chairperson, SFPA said:

“We are delighted that Minister Charlie McConalogue is here today to officially open our Port Office in Greencastle. A substantial programme of work has been progressed and completed across the SFPA as part of its remit to prepare for the impact of the UK departure from the EU, to maintain vibrant marine ecosystems and safeguard Ireland’s international reputation for safe, quality seafood. Notwithstanding the immense volume of work achieved, I commend the work undertaken by colleagues to ensure the office in Greencastle is fully operational and open. The port office in Greencastle is an invaluable addition to our suite of port offices. “


Further information:

*The SFPA’s annual report can be downloaded/accessed here: