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Cuts to 2024 fisheries budget are shocking - Sinn Fein


 

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries and the Marine, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has described the cuts to the fisheries budget for next year as “shocking”. The budget allocation to fisheries and seafood for 2024 is almost half of the allocation for 2023, down from €337.45 million to €176.9 million.

 

Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

 

“Last year, the Minister for the Marine, Charlie McConalogue boasted of a “record” budget of €337.45 million in 2023, pointing out that the budget had increased 62% from the previous year’s budget.

 

Those of us who were listening to the fishing and seafood industry in Ireland knew that he was adding the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund (BAR) money and taking credit for what was essentially a redundancy payment to Ireland’s fishing industry to compensate for the injustice of the Brexit deal and the decommissioning of another layer of the Irish fishing fleet.

 

Minister McConalogue toured the country, announcing funding for piers and harbours, and cutting tapes as if the Irish Government were funding these projects rather than the EU BAR Fund”.

 

“But now this farce has all been exposed. This year’s fisheries/ seafood budget is almost half of last years, down from €337.45 million to €176.9 million. This is a shocking cut in funding," he said.

 

Sinn Féin had proposed a range of measures for Budget 2024 including increased funding to fish producer organisations, support for small scale fish shops and processors, a continuity grant for the Irish inshore fishing fleet, increased safety equipment for inshore vessels, an improved budget for the Marine Institute, a guarantee fund under the Brexit Aquaculture Growth Scheme and a fuel support scheme for the fishing and seafood sectors. Total Sinn Féin additional funding to the Department of Marine budget would have been €24.1 million.

 

"It’s time for honesty from the government rather than dishonesty and spin. Our fisheries and seafood industry has been failed by this government. The last 12 months alone has seen production in the fishing industry down by 15%, the fleet reduced by 30%, Ireland’s fishing quota in our own waters down to less than 20%, and approximately 1,000 people at sea and ashore are losing their jobs

 

"Like so much in Ireland today, it’s clear that a change of government is urgently needed to give our fishing and seafood industry hope of a brighter future”.


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