Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue, has promised to keep fighting for Killybegs fishers as trade deal talks continue in Brussels.
The Donegal Minister visited the crucial port of Killybegs on Friday to discuss the current Brexit state of play with representatives of the fishery sector.
McConalogue, who marked his 100th day in the position on 11th December, held a full day of engagements meeting with fishers, various stakeholders and local businesses in advance of an expected outcome on Brexit EU-UK talks.
The Minister led discussions on the potential impact on business and local communities of any changes to the status-quo and on development of the Harbour.
Minister McConalogue said: “The port and harbour of Killybegs is an integral part of County Donegal as well as the Irish fishing economy. Any deal or no-deal as a result of Brexit free trade agreement talks will have an impact on this economy, and the Government, and I, remain committed to fighting for the best result possible.
“I continue to engage with the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to remind him that the interests of our fishery communities needs to be kept front of mind in all aspects of the talks,” Minister McConalogue said.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has raised the need for specific income and social protection supports to be examined for Ireland’s fishing community by the Department of Social Protection and Employment.
Teachta Mac Lochlainn, when speaking on the Social Welfare Bill in the Dáil this week, said:
“With Brexit and in particular the ever increasing threat of a no-deal Brexit, I am appealing to the Minister to do something very different. The Irish fishing community is in serious trouble and needs support.
“We need new thinking for Irish fishers and I am asking the Departments of Social Protection and Agriculture and Marine to put together an urgent task force involving fishing representatives to look at introducing targeted specific measures that the fishing community.”