Fine Gael MEP, Sean Kelly has called on the Irish Government to compensate former fishing vessel owner CJ Gaffney and his family now
Fine Gael and Wicklow based MEP, Sean Kelly has called on the Irish Government to do the right thing and compensate former fishing vessel owner CJ Gaffney and his family.
Pressure is mounting on the Minister for the Marine who has claimed that signing off on any compensation to the Gaffney family would ‘open the floodgates’ to a litany of other claims.
CJ Gaffney Ltd purchased the beam trawler now known as Mary Kate WD-30 in 2007 and was passed fit for purpose by several surveys and passed as seaworthy by the Marine Survey Office (MSO). But to the shock of CJ in January of 2008, it was discovered that the Mary Kate was in fact a death trap, as she along with several of her sisterships who all under 24 metres were classified as seriously unstable.
CJ has been locked in a battle for justice and compensation for well over a decade and recently he was told by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD, that he would not sign over money from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) even though the European Commission has told CJ that he is entitled it.
Speaking on ‘The Morning Show’ with Declan Meehan on East Coast FM, the MEP for the Ireland South constituency said, “Different Ministers have dealt with this.
“I was in touch with the European Commission they’re very sympathetic. I think it needs to be resolved. I think for Ireland where it is concerned, this is just the one-off case. So, there’s no question of opening the floodgates and also it can be used as a template to ensure that we tighten the regulations so that the German authorities and others won’t make the same mistake in the future.
“We need to deal with this quickly and I would hope that the Irish Government, notwithstanding the reply he got from the Department of Agriculture and the Marine, will rethink their approach because the European Commission has made it very clear that they would like to see CJ being compensated under the Marine and Fisheries Fund and the Irish authorities have been given to go ahead to do that, but they are saying they can’t do it because the legislation doesn’t allow it.
“That’s that makes no sense to me.”
“The European Commission has said to the Irish authorities “You can compensate him under the fund”. So, let’s do it, but also then let us look at how we can improve the situation and deal, particularly with the authorities who gave the okay to the vessel without shipping it in proper shape.
“Twenty extra tonnes of steel, that’s a lot of steel. All that has gone undetected and has to be answered as well.”