The Tánaiste, Simon Coveney, TD, was questioned on committing to an aid package for the Irish inshore fisheries sector during yesterday’s question in Dáil Éireann.
Donegal, Sinn Féin Deputy, Pearse Doherty, TD questioned the Tánaiste over the plight of fishers involved in the sector and told Dáil members of the on-going fears that inshore fishers faced in regards to their livelihoods pre-COVID-19, that has now been intensified by the coronavirus crisis which has seen fishing boats tied-up or operating at a loss since markets in Europe and Asia collapsed.
He told the sitting member that with herring quotas and scientific quotas reduced and boats tied up, small fishermen are said to be on their knees.
Deputy Doherty said that after speaking to those working in inshore fisheries in Donegal, it was clear to him that more supports are needed to ensure their survival.
In the Dáil he questioned the Tánaiste about the supports or assistance the Government had planned to help the sector. On the escalating problems they face he said:
“Many of them won’t be finishing this time next year if the proper supports and protections aren’t forthcoming. What guarantees can you give, if any, to those fishermen and separately if there’s any leeway being considered on the easing of quota for small fishermen to help sustain them during this crisis?”
In response to the questions the Tánaiste replied that there would be assistance packages if the Government thought they were necessary but that they were hoping for a fair Brexit deal would relieve the anxieties of the sector. He said:
“We need to keep our fishing fleet informed and if necessary, supported with assistance packages as we await, what we hope, will be a fair outcome for all sides at in terms of the fisheries element of a Brexit deal at some point in the autumn.”