Fuel crisis - no Government support for Irish fishing industry
Despite the current coalition government somewhat teetering on the brink after losing its majority hold due the resignation of Fine Gael chief whip Joe McHugh TD in protest at the form of the MICA legislation vote in the Dail last night, it appears that, under advice from his own Dept. Marine officials, Minister Charlie McConalogue seems determined that he will bring no assistance to the plight of fishermen who are literally going out of business due to the current prices for fuel.
And, to back up his total reluctance to support all sectors of the industry (catching, processing/transport and aquaculture) the Minister claimed at a recent meeting that countries such as Spain are NOT helping their fishermen in the fuel crisis – but, once again, the Minister is poorly informed and the fact is that at this moment in time, France are providing their fishing vessels with a 35% per litre supplement while Spain are supporting their fishermen with a 20% per litre support measure (and this support is for all of these two nations’ fishing vessels regardless of what country they land their fish into).
While the Minister tries to play down Spanish support by saying that the €18m they have earmarked for fuel support will not last long given the size of their huge fleet, he meanwhile confirmed that the Irish €6m ‘pot’ assigned for support has, since last week, inexplicably now dwindled down to €5.1m – and so if this money didn’t go towards fuel subsidy for Irish fishermen then where has it gone?
The fact that this lack of sympathy from Government comes only weeks after the management of the restaurant in Dail Eireann tendered for suppliers of seafood – including Hoki from New Zealand and Hake from South Africa – smacks of not just a lack of support for the Irish catching sector but the downright aiding and abetting of the strategy of the final termination of the Irish fishing and processing industries and the decimation of the coastal communities that rely on them.