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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020

Rockall: Irish and Scottish ministers to hold 'intensive process' in bid to solve dispute

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar discussed the matter with Nicola Sturgeon today in Manchester.

Leo Varadkar and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met in Manchester today.
Leo Varadkar and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met in Manchester today.
Image: Danny Lawson/PA Images

IRELAND AND SCOTLAND will hold an “intensive” process in a bid to reach an agreement in the ongoing Rockall dispute. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made the announcement during his visit to Manchester today, where he was attending a meeting of the British Irish Council.

He also met with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 

Irish and Scottish ministers are expected to report back from the process at the end of July. 

Varadkar made the announcement on Twitter earlier this evening

The dispute over Rockall has been rumbling on for a number of weeks, with discussions taking place between the Irish and Scottish government. 

A dispute over fishing near the Atlantic sea rock has escalated earlier this month after a Scottish Minister accused Irish vessels of operating “illegally” in the area and suggested they could be boarded.

The UK claimed Rockall back in the 1950s and it’s the Scottish government’s position that Ireland has never had authority to fish there.

Ireland doesn’t claim Rockall but does not recognise British sovereignty over the island either.

Instead, Ireland’s position is that the waters around Rockall form part of European Union waters under the Common Fisheries Policy, to which the principle of equal access for the vessels of all EU Member States applies.

Earlier this month, Varadkar told the Dáil that “Ireland’s position is that there is no basis for excluding Irish fishing vessels from Rockall waters as they are legitimately pursuing EU fishing opportunities and have done so unhindered for decades. We believe any concerns should be handled through dialogue rather than universal enforcement action”.

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