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Bullshit from the Agriculture (and fisheries) minister

In a lengthy press statement yesterday (10th October 2023) on the Government’s Budget Day, Charlie McConalogue, Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine went overboard to clap himself on the back with all the good things he’s doing for rural and coastal Ireland.

Within a long statement McConalogue gave a brief paragraph to the fishing industry:

“The Department’s 2024 estimate provides continued funding for the continued promotion of the environmentally sustainable development of fisheries, aquaculture and wider seafood industry.

“Over the lifetime of this Government €500 million has been spent on the seafood sector. 

“Over the past two years I have announced a range of schemes, worth €271 million, designed to support the seafood sector and coastal communities in overcoming the impact of Brexit.  

“The funding provision made by the Government in Budget 2024 will enable this Programme to provide for further support to the sector over the coming years up to 2027 to ensure that it will not only survive, but transform to generate economic growth and sustain jobs. 

“The Programme will also provide funding to state bodies which carry out important work in the marine environment to protect our coastal natural resources.”


Where do you start with reacting to this PR ‘flannel’? Do we laugh or cry?

As usual, he not once makes reference to the fishing industry or fishermen but calls everything the ‘seafood sector’;

And, in claiming that €271 million has been spent by this Government over the past two years in this sector, he omits to tell the public that this was EU Brexit money and not from the coffers of the Irish Government.

But, in a spout of outrageous and blatant bullshit, McConalogue claims that his aim “to ensure that this industry will not only survive, but transform to generate economic growth and sustain jobs”.

This smokescreen may fool the general public but to those of us in the fishing industry it is more than an insult.

The worst and most ineffective fisheries minister in living memory, this man is presiding over the strategic eradication of Ireland as a fishing nation and he himself has played a major role in this situation - - from botching negotiations with the EU Commission and other EU nations to continuing to refuse to give a fuel subsidy to Irish fishing vessels that the EU has been giving to the other EU Member State fleets for the past 18 months.

Worst of all is his comments is that he wishes to “generate economic growth and sustain jobs”, which comes soon after his BIM press release in which he said he hopes to encourage new entrants into this sector - - can’t the man see that his own actions (or lack of) are in direct contradiction to his words?

How can you hope to generate growth, sustain jobs and encourage new entrants when at the same time you’re doing everything in your power to stifle development, deny any real aid to the industry, and do nothing to regain lost quotas, the raw material this industry relies on for survival.

The last 12 months alone has seen production in the fishing industry down by 15% (OSC data), the fleet reduced by 30%, Ireland’s quota in its own waters down to 15%, approximately 1,000 people at sea and ashore are losing their jobs as a result of the knock-on effect on vessels, processors, seafood retailers and industry ancillary companies and then come out and claim to be doing a good job?

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