An Independent TD has urged the government to adopt fuel subsidies for fishermen, similar to supports seen in other European countries.
The remarks were made in the Dáil this week by Cork South-West TD Michael Collins, who described recent years as “disastrous” for those in the fishing sector.
He said that the European Commission had introduced a “derogation in fuel subsidies” to help fishermen with the “unsustainable costs” they face “just in terms of keeping their vessels moving.”
“However, for some inexplicable reason, our own government, and in particular our own Minister, has utterly failed to make moves on replicating access to a similar system of supports here,” he said.
“Minister McConalogue has been saying for months now that he is “re-assessing the situation,” and “looking at what additional support may be necessary,” the TD continued.
“But we have been telling him loudly and clearly precisely what supports are necessary; and yet still he fails to act.”
Collins said that he was unsure why the government had not taken a cue from other European governments on the issue.
“I do not know what else can explain it at this point excpet incompetence or complete indifference to the fat of the fisheries sector,” he said.
“The Spanish and French governments have gone back for a second time to take what they can from the fuel subsidy arrangements. Meanwhile our own government must have a pain in its behind from sitting on the fence and “re-assessing” the situation.
“A fuel subsidy for the fisheries sector should be top of the list when it comes to the kind of actions that can bring about immediate and positive outcomes.”
He added; “Just get on with it. Our fishermen and women do not have time to wait.”