Sinn Fein TD for Wicklow John Brady has called on the Taoiseach Micheál Martin to intervene between the Department of Transport and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to determine why the Irish government has failed to offer compensation to Arklow Fisherman CJ Gaffney despite being offered a solution on a plate by the EU Commission.
Teachta Brady said:
“CJ Gaffney is an ordinary individual, who purchased a fishing trawler theMary Kate WD30 in 2007 in good faith. It was deemed fit for purpose by several surveys and passed as seaworthy by the Marine Survey Office.
“It was subsequently found to have serious stability issues – tests showed 20 tonnes of unaccounted steel were in the vessel. The family spent considerable funds trying to rectify the serious issues. The funds ultimately were exhausted, leaving the family without a boat or any finances.
“This issue was found to be a fault with this particular type of vessel across Europe, and indeed many EU states have taken action to protect their own fisheries.
“The European Commission previously informed Mr Gaffney that while the issue was outside of their remit, the Irish government would be able to draw down EU funds from the European Fisheries Fund to compensate Mr Gaffney, given the very unique circumstances of his case.
“The Irish government has failed to do this, and what we have witnessed is a case of ‘passing the buck’ developing between government departments, as they work to avoid taking responsibility for the matter.
“I have written to the Taoiseach and have asked that he intervene to outline which government department is the competent department to deal with the CJ Gaffney’s case. The Taoiseach needs to outline what steps that he is prepared to take to ensure that the matter is brought to a satisfactory solution.
“The Taoiseach previously gave the Gaffney family a commitment a decade ago in the Arklow Bay Hotel, that once in power he would get the issue sorted.
“Now is his opportunity to sit down with Minister Charlie McConalogue, and Minister Eamon Ryan to determine which of them will get this mess sorted to allow the Gaffney family to get on with their lives.”