Sinn Féin TD for Kerry, Teachta Pa Daly, has called for the new Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to address the lack of support for inshore fishermen.
Teachta Daly said:
“I would like to extend my congratulations and best wishes to Minister McConalogue on his appointment.
“There is much to address within his portfolio and one area that requires urgent intervention is that of the inshore fishing industry.
“I met with the National Inshore Fishermen’s Organisation earlier this week and they have made it clear that many will not make it through to Spring unless there is some form of support for them.
“There are real fears that highly skilled and hard to replace staff will leave, and businesses will close.
“While the fishermen are being congratulated for their efforts in maintaining food supplies, they feel marginalised by the stimulus package.
“Many of the horizontal supports the such as the wage subsidy scheme, working capital loans, rate rebates and business continuity vouchers are of no use to their business.
“Turnover is down over 50% and there has been no opportunity to build reserves for the challenging winter season.
“It is telling that only 3% of vessels were able to avail of the tie-up-scheme. The fishermen have been saying all along they required something stronger in line with the scheme for British vessels.
“We should not underestimate the critical role the inshore fishing sector plays in sustaining coastal communities, and the positive economic effect it brings to these communities.
“The concerns of the inshore fishermen regarding the programme for government, the climate action plan and the herring quota need to be addressed as a matter of urgency and Minister McConalogue should arrange a meeting with NIFA/NIFO as soon as possible”.