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Ferris welcomes Lost at Sea commitment to Byrne family

2 May, 2018 - by Martin Ferris TD


Speaking in Leinster House today, Sinn Féin spokesman on the Marine Martin Ferris TD welcomed the commitment by Minister Michael Creed that he will take steps to address a complaint made by the Byrne family from Donegal, under the Lost at Sea scheme in 2003.

Deputy Ferris said:

“The denial of the recommendations of Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, who ruled in favour of the Donegal family back in 2009, that they receive compensation for the death of Mrs Byrne’s husband, Francis and son, James who died along with three others, Desmond McGovern from Mayo, Jimmy Laverty from Ballycastle and Tony O’Brien from Dublin, when their boat The Skifjord sank off Burtonport in 1981, is an injustice that has been too long awaiting to be rectified.

“Emily O’Reilly’s ruling was denied to the Byrne family by then Fianna Fáil minister Frank Fahey and the Fianna Fáil government. The family were forced to go to the Ombudsman to seek justice, but she was overruled by the Minister which led to a prolonged campaign at home and in the EU.

“It has taken 15 years, since the introduction of the Lost at Sea Scheme, for this family to be rightfully compensated for an incident 37 years ago. I am delighted for them, but enraged that it should have taken so long for justice to be done.” 

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