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Ritchie questions submarine activity in Irish Sea

SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie has raised questions in the House of Commons about submarine activity in the Irish Sea

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has raised questions in the House of Commons about submarine activity in the Irish Sea following damage to a fishing vessel.

Ms Ritchie said the Minister for the Armed Forces yesterday said she was "confident that no UK submarines were involved".

However, the SDLP MP said Penny Mordaunt added that she still had to "determine which jurisdiction is undertaking submarine activity in the Irish Sea, activity that it is interfering with fishing efforts".

There has been much speculation about what caused the trawler to be hauled through the sea after its fishing nets snared on something 18 miles off the Ardglass coast in April.

The four-man crew feared for their lives, with the men adamant that their nets had been snagged by a submarine.

There was speculation at the time that it was a British or Russian sub.

Ms Ritchie said last night: "I wrote to the Minister for the Armed Forces about the registered Irish fishing vessel that had its gear snagged by a submarine in the Irish Sea. I raised this matter again today in Defence questions.

"The minister confirmed that no discussions have taken place between the NI Executive and the MoD regarding submarine activity in the Irish Sea in the last 12 months.

"The minister is confident that no UK submarines were involved in this incident but she must determine which jurisdiction is undertaking submarine activity in the Irish Sea, activity that it is interfering with fishing efforts."

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