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Ferris Raises Issue of Salmon Compensation Fund

4 December, 2007

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Fisheries, Martin Ferris TD, this evening raised in the Dáil the ongoing issue of the compensation package being offered to drift net salmon fishermen. The Kerry North TD spoke on the matter during a debate on elections to regional fisheries boards.

Deputy Ferris said:

"It is just over a year since the Cabinet voted to proceed with the compulsory buying out of drift net salmon fishermen. In so doing, not only did they go against many Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators but also against the recommendations of the Committee which proposed that any buy out scheme be voluntary.

"As a member of that Committee I pointed out that not only was the Government bringing an end to the livelihoods of many people engaged in a traditional activity, but was inadequately compensating them for it. The conditions attached regarding the destruction of nets were also extremely harsh.

"Fishermen have until the end of this month to decide whether or not to accept the compensation scheme and that in itself is causing not only a large dilemma but the potential for some division between those adamant that they will continue and those who feel that they have no choice but to accept. With the average compensation likely to be between €2,500 and €3,000, it is understandable that many see it as a derisory sum to buy out a tradition that often goes back generations within communities and families. There is also the dilemma being caused by the fact that the Department had told people that they may be issued with new licenses in the future if stocks rise but not if they accept the buy out scheme.

"All in all this has been badly handled and I appeal to Minister Coughlan who now has responsibility in this area to revisit the whole thing at the last hour in order to facilitate those who wish to remain as active fishermen and to provide a much enhanced compensation scheme for those who wish to avail of it." ENDS

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