Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has expressed his anger and disappointment at the Irish government’s refusal to follow advice from the EU to compensate Arklow fisherman CJ Gaffney from EU funds for a stability flaw in a fishing vessel he purchased.
Teachta Brady hit out at the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Charlie McConalogue in particular for his refusal to help, considering the EU is ‘dangling a solution in front of his face’.
Teachta Brady said:
“An 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 guidance and advice of the EU commission to 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.
“We are talking about an individual who has lost his livelihood, his trawler, his licence and his life savings, and who has to sit with the threat of his home being repossessed.
“All the while Minister Charlie McConalogue, for reasons that are unclear to anyone but himself, remains adamant that the government will do nothing to help this individual, irrespective of the advice of the EU Commission, or the fact that there would be no cost to the Irish Exchequer.
“Magda Kopczynska wrote to Seán Kelly MEP on behalf of the EU 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.
“But the Irish government had to do this themselves as the EU had no authority to put forward the request themselves, but if the Irish government did so, the funds would be granted.
“The government has consistently refused to do so – at this point it appears nothing more than vindictive.
“The EU has recognised that there may well be stability issues with sister vessels of the MV Mary Kate, and have informed a number of EU countries of this. The Netherlands has recently launched an inquiry into the issue.
“It is little wonder that the fishing sector fears for its future with a Minister at the helm who has no appetite for standing up for individual fishermen such as CJ Gaffney despite the issue being cut and dried, and that the EU is dangling a solution in front of his face.
“I am calling on the government colleagues of Charlie McConalogue in this county – Simon Harris, Stephen Donnelly, and Steven Mathews – a trio who although they may have ignored this issue up until now, have a responsibility to get the government to accept the solution that they have been offered by the EU.”