International fishing vessels are to be allowed land their catches in five additional Irish ports from early next month.

The decision was confirmed by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue and has been welcomed by Northern Ireland's fishing sector.

At present international vessels, including boats registered in Northern Ireland, are allowed to use only the ports of Killybegs in Co Donegal and Castletownbeare, Co Cork.

But from 1 February, the Donegal ports of Greencastle, Rathmullan and Burtonport, as well as Ros an Mhíl (Rossaveal), Co Galway, and Howth in Co Dublin will be added to the designated ports list.

Many vessel owners and crews had complained that the restrictions were unworkable and said the situation highlighted how the fishing sector is a victim of the Brexit trade deal.

In Northern Ireland, seven ports were designated to allow continued access for vessels registered in the Republic of Ireland, and there were calls for reciprocal gestures by the authorities in the Republic.

The five additional ports designated will be operational for international vessels from 2pm to 8pm on weekdays only and the three newly designated Co Donegal ports will be accessible to land only 'non-quota' species.

The fishing sector is expected to continue pressing Dublin, London, and Brussels for further changes arising from the Brexit agreement.

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The Chief Executive of the Anglo North Irish Fish Producers Organisation, Alan McCulla, said the decision was "a very welcome first step" and his organisation was awaiting the details.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr McCulla said this trade has gone on for generations and all fishermen are asking for is it to continue.

He said that while the fisheries part of the Brexit trade agreement is disappointing, "it does end some of the discrimination that Northern Ireland fishermen have had to cope with for over 30 years, it gives us a fair share of the catch" and overall unhindered and tariff free access to European Union markets.

The Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation (IIMRO) welcomed the announcement, saying it addressed the safety concerns it highlighted recently that required small boats to make long and hazardous journeys a day or more away from their home ports to land catches.

The IMMRO will work with the new arrangements "to address any further issues and make sure that the impact of Brexit is minimised for our members across the islands," its chair Jerry Early said.