Pat Fitzgerald -fishing industry losing jobs because of lack of government investment
Dunmore East is a designated EU fisheries port and the premier fishing port on the South East coast. Due to the lack of basic maintenance, the harbour at Dunmore East is now so shallow due to the build-up of mud and silt. Some of the bigger vessels can only enter and leave the port at high tide.
Vessels that are moored in the harbour run the risk of being damaged as they sit on the ground as the tide falls.
One major piece of infrastructure called the ‘Synchro Lift’, which is used to lift vessels out of the water for maintenance and refit, has so much mud underneath it that it can now lift only the smaller boats in the local fleet.
Prior to the build-up of silt, larger fishing vessels of up to 260 Tons could be lifted clear of the water for dry-docking. It catered for all of the dry-docking needs of the local fleet.
Boat owners from all round the coast booked the dry dock for planned maintenance of their vessel. This created a lot of local employment, local businesses such as engineering, ships chandlery, hotels and shops all benefited from this activity.
Local businesses that support the local fishing industry are now losing jobs to rival Irish ports and even other countries, because of lack of government investment in local infrastructure.
In the last twenty years successive governments has shown little interest in our coastal fishing communities, since the present government took office the decline has accelerated.
Government Ministers constantly talk about job creation and investment in indigenous industry, but the fishermen of Dunmore East are still waiting for the Dept. of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to invest in their local industry.
In spite of the disadvantage, the harbour at Dunmore East turns over in excess of 10 million Euros in fish landings per annum. This figure could be doubled with a small investment for dredging of the harbour.
If hundreds of years of fishing tradition are to continue at Dunmore East, we need immediate investment in the Fisheries Port of Dunmore East.