C: Gript

“Fisheries left on the hook as Government fails to appoint dedicated junior minister.” Michael Collins

Independent TD for Cork South-West, Michael Collins, has described the failure of the new government to appoint a dedicated junior minister to oversee the ongoing crisis in the fisheries sector as “the clearest indication yet that the failed policy approach of the previous administration will be continued despite an obvious need for a change in direction.”

Deputy Collins was speaking after the Cabinet approved the appointment of several new junior ministers following a reshuffle. The Cabinet also signed off on the creation of a new dedicated junior minister’s position at the Department of Integration to help assist with the refugee crisis:

“I have lost count of the number of times I have pleaded with former Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, to create a ministerial role that would accord fisheries the level of respect and concentrated full-time engagement that it demands,” said Deputy Collins.

“On each one of those occasions I was told that it was simply not possible. Yet here we are today with new roles and new appointments to beat the band. Meanwhile fisheries is left, once again, to sing for its supper as the poor relation.”

“There are real questions for me now around whether or not the former Taoiseach mislead both myself and the Dáil on this matter.”

“The fact of the matter is we simply cannot go on as before.”

“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said today that we must treat each challenge as a national emergency and deploy the full resources of the State, the full machinery of Government, to make an immediate and real difference.”

“He obviously does not include fisheries among the top challenges or as one the areas that demands a real difference to be made. If he did, he and his partners in government would not have wasted an ideal opportunity to raise the fisheries profile.”

“There is time yet for this egregious oversight to be rectified and for government to put its money where its mouth is in terms of fisheries. Nothing less than a dedicated minister for fisheries will do at this crucial point,” Deputy Collins concluded.

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