Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has once again expressed frustration at the ongoing impasse between Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister for the Marine Charlie McConalogue, and their failure to deal with the issue of the MV Mary Kate, a trawler purchased by Arklow fisherman CJ Gaffney.
Deputy Brady said the two ministers appear more concerned at distancing themselves from this long-running saga, which has left Mr Gaffney’s life in ruins, than accepting the ready-made solution offered to the government by the European Commission.
Teachta Brady said:
“Arklow fisherman CJ Gaffney has been left with his life in ruins as a result of the callous indifference of the coalition government to take on board the advice of the European Commission and provide compensation for the costs incurred due to the stability flaws in a fishing vessel, the MV Mary Kate, which had been certified by the EU.
“This situation is getting more ridiculous. I cannot understand the refusal of two senior ministers – Eamon Ryan and Charlie McConalogue – to come to an agreement as to whose department is willing to take responsibility for making a decision in relation to this issue, despite being offered a clear solution by the European Commission.
“Magda Kopczynska wrote to Sean Kelly MEP, on behalf of the European Commission, and laid out in explicit terms that the EU advised the Irish Government that compensation for CJ Gaffney could be drawn down under the European Fund for Maritime and Fisheries.
“The stipulation is that the Irish Government has to do this themselves as the EU had no authority to put forward the request themselves.
“If the Irish Government did so, the funds would be granted. Yet they refuse to take this simple action that would bring to a conclusion an issue that has haunted the Gaffney family for years.
“I previously wrote to both ministers who responded by attempting to pass responsibility to the other. I further wrote to both ministers requesting a meeting to clarify which one of them could deal with the issue. Neither replied to this request.
“Just this week, Minister Ryan responded to a further enquiry from myself by replying that the responsibility lay with Minister McConalogue.
“A particularly disappointing aspect of this issue has been the refusal of any of the three government TDs for Wicklow to provide any assistance to the Gaffney family.
“Having failed to respond to my request that they add their names to a letter to the two ministers, they also repeatedly ignored calls asking them to use their influence in government to help clarify what department is responsible for dealing with the issue, and to clarify why the government refuse to accept the ready-made solution to the issue that has been offered by the European Commission, which would not result in cost to the Irish exchequer.
“I again want to call upon the three government TDs to act in support of the Gaffney family, to bring government focus to this very solvable issue, to get the ministers to sort themselves out, and start to do the job that they were elected to do.”