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The Weekly Maritime Ireland Blog – Mentioned Just Once

PHOTO courtesy: Bob Bateman

I heard the word ‘FISHERIES’ mentioned just ONCE in the two Budgetary speeches

That was at the Dáil on Tuesday, in a time when the fishing industry representative organisation have been expressing their fears that 16,000 jobs nationwide could be lost, directly in the industry and in support sectors, I was surprised that there was so little mention of the industry in the speeches of Ministers Paschal O’Donoghue and Michael McGrath. Minister O’Donoghue NEVER mentioned the fishing industry. Minister McGrath was the single- word user when he announced his allocation to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and referred to a billion Euros expected from the EU’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve dealing with the adverse effects of the EU/UK deal. But that is not direct Irish Government money, nor is it clear that it will all go to the fishing industry. On past experience that could be unlikely. The industry got no profile from Government in the Budget speches, 16 000 jobs at risk nationwide, the industry has been saying and protesting about that Cork and Dublin Ports this summer, because of the problems faced. I put a question to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which sent out a press release after the Budget speeches, in which Minister Charlie McConalogue announced that “key features of the Budget’ were  –  Some €872 million for Rural Development and Forestry supports, including more than €100 million for the beef and sheep sectors and €80m. for farm investments  —- that made a total of €180 million to agriculture. There was €157 million for fisheries and coastal communities that depend on fishing. I asked why the industry was not mentiond in the Budget speeches as were other sectors of the Department. At the time of writing this I haven’t had a reply.

Other maritime sectors were mentioned – the importance of shipping to the economy by Minister O’Donoghue and the Coast Guard got a significant allocation.

There was a lot of mention in the Budget of social policies and the importance of them to the nation, but not of the fishing industry to the coastal communities. Regrettably the national media, radio and television had the same approach to the Budget as the two Ministers, no mention of the problems of the fishing industry, nor the big decommissioning which the Seafood Task Force in their report issued the day before the Budget, removing 60 fishing boats from the Irish fleet.

Perhaps all of these sectors should consider the manner in which they have treated the fishing comunity, or perhaps, neglected it ?

My Podcast on the Marine Times website: wwe.marinetimes.ie has more

Blog issue date: 16th October.

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Tom MacSweeney

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