Members of the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation have voiced their frustration at a lengthy delay in the delivery of Brexit compensation.
A European fund established to compensate Irish fishermen impacted by the loss of quota due to Brexit has yet to be distributed to the most affected sector some 17 months after it was first recommended.
Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) Chief Executive, Seán O’Donoghue said financial support has not yet been delivered to pelagic (mackerel, horse mackerel, blue whiting, boarfish and herring) fishermen which is ironically, the sector most impacted from the Brexit fallout. The number one economic driver of the fishing industry here, mackerel, has been reduced by a staggering 26%.
“We have been repeatedly fed the line that our modest slice of the €1billion Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) was subject to the Department receiving national sanction and state aid approval at EU level. However, Denmark was formally given EU Commission approval under state aid rules only last week meaning the way is now effectively cleared for our monies to be dispersed here.
“In a nutshell, if Danish fishermen can draw down the funding for losses of quota due to Brexit, why can’t we get it? The most damning aspect of this protracted fiasco is that if we don’t distribute this funding by year end, it’ll be returned to Europe and permanently lost to our fishermen. This is potentially an appalling vista and we’re calling for the most urgent of political action by Minister McConalogue on this matter”, said Mr O’Donoghue.
The KFO warns that, in the absence of financial support and other burden sharing measures, Ireland’s pelagic sector will shed more than 1,200 jobs by 2030 because of Brexit.