The inshore fisheries sector has experienced an unrelenting series of body-blows in the last number of years, according to Independent TD for Cork South West, Michael Collins.
Deputy Collins was speaking after he introduced a private members motion by the Rural Independent Group calling on Government to immediately provide emergency financial aid of at least €12 million to the inshore fisheries sector which makes up 91 per cent of Ireland’s fishing fleet:
“What will it actually take before Government recognises the scale of the challenges that are confronting our fisheries sector?” said Deputy Collins.
“To date coastal communities have witnessed the carnage of Brexit; a total failure of Government to effectively grasp the scandal of limited quota allocations; the dominance and outright hostility of EU member state fleets who are fleecing our waters on a daily basis, and delays and deceptions with respect to funding for our marine infrastructure such as piers and slipways.”
“Now on top of this we have the inshore fishermen and fisherwomen being left at the precipice of financial collapse because Government has not moved quickly enough to respond their concerns.”
“All of this speaks to the need for a stand-alone Minister for Fisheries and for a far greater degree of coordination capable of bringing about effective resolutions. We simply cannot proceed with the kind of unfocused, ad hoc approach to fisheries that we have seen to date.”
“I and my colleagues have made a clear and unambiguous case for the immediate allocation of financial support to inshore fisheries. If that is not provided then the signal will go out yet again that we have a Government, for all of its rhetoric, that does not actually give a damn what happens when it comes to fisheries,” Deputy Collins concluded.