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A deal to settle the long-simmering row between Scotland and Ireland over Rockall fishing access has been sunk - temporarily at least - by the UK Government.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron has vetoed the agreement over the waters surrounding the rocky Atlantic outcrop.

An argument broke out over fishing rights as Brexit removed the UK from the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, and the UK Government barred Irish boats from a 12-mile Rockall territorial zone where they have traditionally fished for squid and haddock.

Despite the Irish and Scottish governments working out an access deal for two years, the Foreign Office has stepped in following the General Election announcement.

The deal, negotiated because fisheries are a devolved power of the Scottish government, was also said to entail Irish marine scientists conducting research in the waters around Rockall and passing the data onto the Scottish fishing fleet.

Reportedly, the UK Government’s rationale behind blocking the access deal was that it could not see benefits for the Scottish fishing fleet, and they claimed the Scottish fishing industry opposed Irish boats returning to Rockall.

However, The Irish Times reported sources as saying the reasoning behind blocking the deal was entirely political. The UK government did not wish to be seen agreeing to a deal with an EU member state ahead of a General Election.

It is understood that the Scottish and Irish governments are ready to re-engage on the issue after the General Election in the hope of salvaging the deal.

Fishing rights came to a head in 2021 when Irish trawlers were boarded by the crew of a Scottish fisheries protection vessel and ordered to leave the area. Skippers were warned they faced arrest and bans from fishing in UK waters if they did not leave the exclusion zone.

However, a compromise was finally reached after lengthy talks between Edinburgh and Dublin.

However, the Foreign Office weighed in as the agreement would have had to be formally signed into the Brexit trade and co-operation agreement between the UK and the European Union.

Sinn Féin, the main opposition party in Republic of Ireland politics, has estimated that the Rockall ban costs the Irish fishing fleet an estimated €7m (£6m) a year.