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Crowe pleads with Minister for continuation of search for missing Wexford fisherman

1 December, 2005

Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe today pleaded with the Minister for the Marine, Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher, to take immediate steps to ensure the search for missing skipper of the Rising Sun, Pat Colfer, continues off the Wexford coast.  Deputy Crowe made his call in the Dáil this afternoon after it emerged that the Navy had imposed a one-mile exclusion order around what is believed to be the sunken vessel, and have ordered all divers involved in the search away from the site, threatening criminal prosecution if the order is breached.

Deputy Crowe said, “I want to raise on a issue of serious concerns that has been brought to my attention this morning.  I want to raise this now because there will be no other opportunity to raise this issue which is of utmost urgency.

“The Navy believe they have found the wreckage of the fishing vessel the ‘Rising sun’, which sunk off the Wexford coast on Tuesday.  The Navy have put in place a one mile exclusion zone around the area of wreckage.  They have indicated to the family that it may be a crime scene.

“They are causing great hurt to the family of the missing skipper Pat Colfer by telling them that divers are not to go down and search the sunken vessel for his remains.  They have indicated that it may be Sunday before divers are sent down.  They have also indicated that there will be a criminal prosecution following any intervention by the family with the wreckage.

“I have also been informed that the Navy has rung around local divers to instruct them not to go near the wreckage.  The senior navy person on the scene showed great discourtesy and lack of sympathy to the brother of Mr. Colfer when he attempted to discuss the situation with him.

“The Minister for Marine must intervene and ensure that the Navy does not hinder attempts to commence now the search of the sunken vessel for the lost fisherman.  This is a humanitarian request from a family which is devastated by this fishing tragedy. 

“The Minister must assure this House that every sympathy and understanding will be shown to the family by the naval authorities in any future dealings with them.” ENDS

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