Speaking from Brussels on the announcement of a new €241 million development programme for the Irish seafood sector which has been made accessible from the European Maritime and Investment Fund, Liadh Ní Riada MEP said:
"Seafood plays a valuable role in our economy, particularly in our coastal economies where it plays an integral part in food tourism.
“Ireland is recognised abroad for the quality and value of its food and has the potential to be an industry worth €1 billion annually. This package will help boost employment and enterprise in a struggling tourism and hospitality industry that, for the last number of years, has been neglected by the government and has been hit hard by austerity.
“I welcome any funding which will alleviate the dire economic situation in our local areas. However, it must be said that if the government truly had the best interests of our seafood industry alongside the well-being of our rural and coastal economies at heart, this kind of funding should have been made accessible long ago. This would have saved many jobs alongside small and medium sized businesses.”
“For this funding to be made accessible, with a looming general election in less than a year, would come too late for many rural and coastal communities. These communities have seen mass youth emigration, and a vast number of businesses have been forced to close down. Nevertheless, I welcome hope this new funding will help alleviate the hardship that people have suffered.”
"In the wake of the Irish Water fiasco and the squandering of taxpayer’s money it is important for the government to take note that the funds need to be invested wisely so that the benefits start from the bottom up. We must reinvigorate and sustainably grow our fisheries and revive ailing communities.”
“Public consultation for the new funding programme will be in place until the 1 May 2015.”