Rural Ind TD, Michael Collins calls for the resignation of Minister Charlie McConalogue following major cuts in the fisheries budget
Fisheries Minister Slashes Budget in Half – Calls for Immediate Resignation by Michael Collins
Rural Independent TD for Cork Southwest, Michael Collins, Castigates Minister Charlie Mc Conalogue for a despicable 47% slash in the 2024 fisheries budget.
Referring to the 2024 budget allocation as “horrific and grotesque,” Deputy Michael Collins expressed his frustration:
“It is utterly baffling that Minister Charlie McConalogue, responsible for fisheries, would drastically reduce the budget allocation for the fisheries and seafood sector, slashing it from €337.45 million this year to a mere €176.9 million in 2024. At a time when the sector requires more, not less, state assistance, this decision is incomprehensible.”
“In his comprehensive post-Budget statement, Minister Charlie McConalogue lavished himself with self-praise while conveniently omitting any reference to the fishing sector and the fishermen he is entrusted to support. Instead, he broadly referred to the seafood sector. Surprisingly, neither the Finance Minister, the Public Expenditure Minister, the Taoiseach, nor the Tánaiste mentioned fishing once in their respective budget speeches. Indeed, I was the sole Dáil Deputy to raise the needs of our fishermen on Budget Day.”
“In fact, during this Minister’s tenure, it’s essential to recognize that a significant portion of the funds allocated to the sector has originated from EU contributions rather than state resources. These funds were granted over the last two years, with a substantial amount coming from the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund (BAR). Essentially, this fund acted as compensation, a form of redundancy payment, resulting from the Minister’s own failings in the Brexit deal. These failings led to the decommissioning of a segment of the Irish fishing fleet, driving many fishermen out of business.”
“The Minister’s lack of support for the fishing industry has become painfully evident. However, he continues to attempt to mislead the public while failing to deceive fishermen. This Minister’s incompetence and passiveness have brought Ireland’s standing as a fishing nation to the brink of extinction.”
“For the past 18 months, the Minister has neglected to provide Irish fishermen with a fuel subsidy accessible through EU funds, a benefit that numerous other EU Fisheries Ministers have secured for their respective fishermen.”
“The consequences of the government’s inaction are devastating, affecting rural coastal jobs and livelihoods in the country’s most peripheral regions. The situation is nothing short of a disgrace. This Minister has practically single-handedly devastated the livelihoods of fishermen, neglecting lost quota opportunities, failing to regain lost quotas, and ignoring opportunities for critical, long-overdue aid from EU or government funds.”
“In just the last year, production within the fishing industry has plummeted by 15%, the fleet has shrunk by 30%, Ireland’s fishing quota in its own waters has been reduced to less than 20%, and approximately 1,000 individuals, both at sea and ashore, are losing their jobs.”
“Minister McConalogue spent the last year touring the country, inaugurating pier and harbour projects as if these were funded by the Irish Government instead of the EU BAR Fund. Simultaneously, he was tactfully orchestrating the Irish fishermen’s endgame and that of the sector.”
“Budget 2024 has exposed the Minister’s charade, with his negligence reflected in an almost 50% reduction in this year’s funding allocation. This cut is deceptive and disheartening.”
“It is evident that Minister McConalogue is not a trustworthy advocate for the fishing sector or the hardworking fishermen and factory workers who rely on it. The stark lack of transparency and spin from the Minister is nothing short of deceitful. This government has failed our fisheries and seafood industry.”
“It is now clear that the longer Minister McConalogue remains in office as Fisheries Minister, the greater the damage to the sector. Jobs will be lost, coastal communities and local families will suffer, and we will be left worse off. We require a Fisheries Minister who will champion the interests of one of our oldest and most cherished sectors, offering a brighter vision, hope, and a genuine commitment to a better future,” concluded Deputy Collins.
Source: Press Release