Fisherman welcomes EU exit due to rules and regulations

Paul Coffey's boat Asteria returning to Portavogie
Paul Coffey's boat Asteria returning to Portavogie

A Co Down fisherman has welcomed the Brexit vote and believes it will help liberate Northern Ireland’s fishing industry from bureaucracy.

Trawlerman Paul Coffey has worked from Portavogie for 25 years.

Asked how he felt after the Brexit vote, he replied: “Good! We have got what we wanted - but there is a lot more work to be done.

“I voted leave because of the way the EU was controlling the UK and because of those other countries coming in.

“In fishing there were so many rules and regulations that it was important to meet.”

DUP MP Ian Paisley recently slammed UUP MEP Jim Nicholson for taking a ‘remain’ stance in the debate. Mr Paisley said: “For the last 20 years I have watched Jim Nicholson as a member of the European Parliament tell us how awful Europe is, how it is destroying the farming sector, how it has destroyed the fisheries sector, how as an MEP he is appalled by what happens. And at the one point when events say ‘stand up and be counted,’ he then decides to not be counted.”

Last night Mr Paisley said Brexit had fulfilled his late father Dr Ian Paisley’s vision.

“I often think of his remark that he will milk the European cow and then cut its throat,” he said. “I believe today that ambition has been realised. I think he would have been very pleased but also up for the challenge to see the necessary work done to deliver the changes.”

But Mr Nicholson said: “Make no mistake, as the process to negotiate new arrangements unfolds we are in uncharted territory, politically and economically.”

He added: “Already producers locally will be waking up to the news that, as predicted, the value of the pound has dropped significantly.”

It is now up to all those who believe in the UK “to fight to hold our country together”, he added.