October 6, 2023
Hiding behind Europe on fuel assistance for the Irish fishing industry needs to stop – Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD is calling on Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie Mc Conalogue to finally introduce a fuel assistance scheme for the Irish fishing industry and to announce it as part of next week’s budget package.

Teachta Mac Lochlainn said:

“Over the last 18 months, the fishing industry have repeatedly appealed for a fuel assistance scheme to help them cope with the huge increase in cost for them to go to sea. Minister Mc Conalogue has hidden behind EU regulations and suggested he is prevented from doing so.

“Meanwhile, Irish fishermen have struggled to make a living with hugely inflated fuel costs whilst French, Spanish, and other EU Member State’s fishermen have all received fuel supports from their respective Governments.

“Recent correspondence received from senior EU Commission officials has confirmed that the Commission amended the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Regulation 2014-2020 to introduce specific measures to provide financial compensation to operators in the fishing and aquaculture sectors for the income foregone, and for additional costs incurred.

“This correspondence further confirmed that as the Ukraine crisis support falls under the shared management of both the EMFF and the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and that it is the prerogative of each Member State to mobilise the EU funds for such types of support but that the Irish authorities decided not to implement these support measures under the EMFF and EMFAF programmes.

“Minister Mc Conalogue has passed the buck and delayed supports for far too long. The time for action is now. I have made provision in Sinn Féin’s alternative budget for such a scheme as I did in last year’s alternative budget.

“The Government must now do the same and stand up for Irish fishermen.”

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