Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has called on Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to restore their Education and Outreach programme, and to clarify why they have sought to bring the programme to an end.
Funded through the Dormant Accounts Fund, the IFI programme built upon the Dublin Angling Initiative and engaged with groups such as the Irish Wheelchair Association, Traveller community groups, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Tusla and Garda Youth Diversion Project.
Teachta Carthy said:
“All those who have engaged with the Education and Outreach programme have advocated for its retention and spoken of its high value output for participating young people.
“That this programme, it appears, is not being closed due to a lack of available funding but rather because the IFI chose not to apply for funding seems outright bizarre.
“Inland Fisheries should immediately clarify why they have chosen this course of action.
“My understanding is that the cessation of this programme may actually result in a net loss for IFI, as while this programme and associated funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund incorporated the Dublin Angling Initiative, the DAI will now have to be funded from the IFI’s own central funds.
“This would not seem a prudent course of action neither socially nor economically.
“I also understand that this will result in the loss of some six jobs.
“I echo the call of SIPTU for the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Éamon Ryan to meet with workers representatives, but I also call on IFI to make an immediate statement on their justification for this course of action.
“This bizarre turn of events warrants further scrutiny and I will be writing to the Public Accounts Committee to request that we engage with IFI to clarify whether they believe their previous spending did not represent value for money, or to justify the social cost of the scheme’s cessation.”