KFO urge moves to ease Brexit problems for local fishing industry
Moves to mitigate the serious obstacles that could damage Donegal's seafood sector have begun in earnest this week with agreement on all sides that action was needed to prevent a harmful fallout from the Brexit deal.
When the deal was announced on Thursday last chief executive of the Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation (KFO), Seán O’Donoghue, warned they would not stand idly by and allow decades of investment in developing a successful enterprise, to be sacrificed by the shape of what he called “this very poor deal”.
“Make no mistake, we will be seeking compensation from our EU colleagues to put right this grievous wrong. We won’t accept this,” he said.
“Moreover, we fully expect the Irish Government to deliver the requisite compensation in the form of transfer of mackerel quota from the other EU coastal states which pro rata, have seen a much less severe impact on their respective mackerel fisheries.”
The same day the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Donegal TD, Charlie McConalogue, acknowledged the need to support fishing communities to address negative impacts adding he fully understood their concerns regarding a cut in a number of quota shares, and promised to work with the sector to develop the necessary supports and approach to address these impacts.
Government ministers discussed the impact of Brexit on the agri-food and fisheries industries at a specially convened Cabinet meeting on Monday afternoon of this week where they signed off on the post-Brexit trade deal. The EU did the same that day too clearing the way for it to come into effect tomorrow, Thursday, January 1.
It is understood the discussed included a fleet tie-up scheme from the second quarter of 2021 as a short-term measure for fishermen and a permanent fleet decommissioning scheme to commence later next year.
Schemes to support economic diversification of coastal communities were also discussed.
The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin together with ministers, Simon Coveney and Charlie McConalogue, are understood to have met with representatives of the fishing organisations.
Mr Martin acknowledged the severe impact that the outcome of the Brexit negotiations would have on the fishing industryand the disappointment expressed by the representative bodies.
He said the Government was "fully committed" to engaging with the representative bodies and working with the sector and coastal communities in the coming period.
Reacting to this Mr O'Donoghue said he believes the Government recognises that the Brexit deal creates very significant problems for the fishing industry and that further meetings between government and the sector will take place to look at how to reduce the impact of the deal on coastal communities.
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