Sinn Féin Spokesperson for the Marine Brian Stanley TD has called on Minister Creed to avail of the EU temporary rescue scheme in an effort to support the Irish fishing industry. All possible avenues and flexibilities offered by the EU to give fleets financial relief must be investigated, he says.
Teachta Stanley said: “It is very important that our fishing industry is provided with the necessary support it requires in order to preserve its existence and uphold our supply chains.
“With businesses and restaurants closed across Italy, Spain and France—where 64% if Irish fish exports go—closed, we are witnessing a huge drop in demand for Irish produce.
“Minister Creed has so far offered very few supports to small Irish fishing fleets who will struggle to survive the COVID-19 crisis.
“There is growing frustration building in the fishing industry over a reluctance by Minister Creed to avail of EU funding to ease the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry.
“Last Friday, the European Commission set up a temporary relief scheme allowing EU member states to divert existing structural funds into compensation packages, including fleet tie-ups.
“Portugal and Latvia are among the first States to secure such a multimillion-euro scheme, while Britain announced a £10 million specific package last week, with £1.5 million for the North of Ireland.
“Minister Creed, however, has said he is not proposing a tie-up scheme for Irish fishing vessels at present. This is a decision which will leave many workers and communities in a very difficult situation during this crisis.
“Sinn Féin is calling on the Minister to investigate all possible avenues through which the fishing sector can be supported and to use all flexibility offered by the EU to give small Irish fishing fleets financial relief.”
Inshore boats tied up in Clogherhead last month (Credit: Barry Faulkner Jnr)