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Coveney's inaction is putting fishermen’s lives at risk

27 May, 2015 - by Martin Ferris TD

Speaking in Leinster House today, having been briefed by the Fleet Sub -segmentation Lobby Group, Sinn Féin representatives, Martin Ferris TD and Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, said that fishermen’s lives were being put at risk by the inaction of Minister Simon Coveney.

Deputy Ferris said:

“There is clear evidence of a lack of flexibility in the allocation of tonnage in the pelagic sector, which is putting the lives of fishermen at risk.

“These fishermen are not in a position to upgrade or renew their vessels due to a lack of co-operation and engagement from the minister and his officials.”

Senator Ó Clochartaigh added:

“An example of this was the Iúda Naofa which sank off the coast of Scotland in January. Thankfully the five crew members in that case were saved, but fishermen believe that the next time they might not be so lucky.

“The department was approached three times regarding an upgrade of the Iúda Naofa before she sank and these calls fell on deaf ears.

“The Iúda Naofa is not exceptional in any way as many others are in jeopardy. They can’t do essential upgrades or implement essential safety measures.”

Both Sinn Fein representatives said they are calling for a meeting with the minister as a matter of urgency to resolve the issues around tonnage and kilowatt allocations.

 Senator Ó Clochartaigh said;

“The subsegmentation of the industry is jeopardising lives and livelihoods and these issues can be resolved without incurring any costs.”

Deputy Ferris, Sinn Féin spokesman on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, added:

“The minister has rightly spent millions on farm safety. He needs to show that he is equally concerned for the safety of fishermen and meet this group urgently.”

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