Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD, has conveyed his shock that there has been no announcement in the Budget of an emergency financial aid package to address the unprecedented fuel crisis in the Irish fishing industry.
Teachta Mac Lochlainn said:
“In recent days, the Irish fishing industry united again to meet the Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, to appeal for urgent financial support for their fishing communities in crisis.
“It was 11 weeks when they last met him in July with the same appeal. I am shocked that the government have not announced a rescue package in the budget.
“Worse, it appears that EU Brexit funding is now replacing what would normally be investment from the central Irish exchequer in coastal communities.
“This funding is supposed to compensate the Irish seafood sector for the loss of income due to Brexit and not replace Irish government funding.
“It is absolutely incredible that EU members states have introduced emergency fuel support schemes for their fishing industries, with the support of the European Commission, and here in Ireland the Minister has sat on his hands despite desperate calls for relief.
“Sinn Féin outlined the multimillion scale of what is required in our alternative budget proposals to support fishermen that would deploy the remaining €5 million of European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF), front loading funds from the new European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and allow direct exchequer funding of €7.5 million.
“The time for action is now. The EU have relaxed state aid rules to allow temporary measures to be taken by the Minister. There is no excuse not to act.”