“This Government has turned its back on Irish fishermen” - Michael Collins Ind TD
In a video posted on social media yesterday (Nov 7th) from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food & Marine, Cork Independent T.D. Michael Collins challenged Minister Charlie McConalogue to explain his lack of action or support for the fishing industry during several crisis issues currently taking place.
Focusing on the main two of a long list of problems Mr Collins again demanded an answer to why Irish fishermen are not being given the EU fuel subsidy when the rest of the EU fleet are getting it, and also why the Minister is not even expressing an opinion on the SFPA’s fish weighing regime that is forcing the industry to record inaccurate figures due to random weighing being done at the quayside and not using the completely accurate figures from the factories after the fish is transported there.
This method of random weighing is also causing fractional amounts of whitefish bycatch through pelagic fish to be ‘guesstimated’ into much larger volumes and this in turn is impacting on the national quotas (TACs) of the Irish demersal fleet.
Mr Collins acknowledged that while the Minister may not have the authority to rule on the weighing issue, he does however have the power to immediately call for a Government independent review on the matter.
In reply, and in continuing his insistence to describe Irish fishermen as weasels (fishers) and not giving them their correct title as fishermen, McConalogue as usual fudged his way through a response that did nothing to endear himself to the fishing communities of Ireland nor to address the issues put before him:
We fought the Brexit battle as hard as we could;
We’ve seen some gains in the past three years;
As Minister, I cannot get involved with the SFPA and the weighing issue;
Regarding the fuel subsidy, the fleet ‘tie-up’ schemes we already provided support to help with rising costs for the fishing industry (but avoiding to admit that other EU nations also held similar tie-up schemes and yet still also avail of the EU funds for fishing fleet fuel subsidies) - - my team are doing assessment of this situation and I am looking into it.
As Michael Collins said, Charlie McConalogue has taken the opportunity recently of several speeches and BIM and other reports to talk about development and growth in 2024 but the Irish fishing industry is going out of business now, in 2023.
And, as for Charlie McConalogue ‘looking into’ something I can only compare this with the same interest that a castrated blind man would have at looking at a picture of a naked woman……