Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has urged Government to provide emergency funding to Donegal County Council to repair Pollawaddy Pier on Árainn Mhór, which was badly damaged by the recent storms.
Addressing the Dáil today, Deputy Pringle said: “Our inshore fishing sector rely on piers, slipways and harbours, such as Pollawaddy, and they have been hit hard by successive governments due to restrictions and bans being placed on the types of fishing they can engage in.
“Yet many are still engaged full time in the sector and draw their sole income from it. It’s beyond a job for these people; it’s a way of life. One that has more than just an economic value to be placed on it. There is also the culture and heritage value of these traditional fisheries which utilise such local infrastructure,” he said.
The deputy said the recent succession of storms that hit Ireland caused disruption and damage in numerous areas across the country, saying that in many cases that damage could be expected from such weather events.
“But there are always exceptions. And in this instance Pollawaddy is such an exception,” the deputy said.
— IIMRO (@islandsmarine) February 21, 2022
Deputy Pringle raised the issue with Minister Charlie McConalogue this morning during Topical Issues.
He said he was aware of the increased funding Government provided last year, and the provision of a new funding stream under the Brexit Adjustment Fund for piers and harbours, as recommended by the Seafood Taskforce.
Deputy Pringle said: “Unfortunately it’s hard to see how emergency repair works such as needed in Pollawaddy would properly fit the bill under this.” He said the main reason he brought the issue to the Dáil today was the immediacy of funding needed.
The deputy said: “I’m asking that you will look to make a once-off allocation of emergency funding to cover the cost of repair and ancillary works required to protect from a similar recurrence.”
Minister McConalogue said he has spoken with the County Council chief executive and said that in the first instance the council must provide a full assessment of the damage.
Deputy Pringle said the council must provide a report in a timely manner. He said: “The council wouldn’t have the resources to actually deal with this initially themselves, so it is going to be up to the department, and I would urge you to ensure that funding would be made available when the report comes from Donegal County Council.”