The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, Matt Carthy, has conveyed the frustration of eel fishermen and women at the failure by government and Minister responsible, Seán Kyne, TD to release the details of a promised hardship scheme.
Matt Carthy said:
“For a decade fishermen and their families have been campaigning for support following the unprecedented ban on Eel fishing introduced in 2009.
“For most of the period since the government refused to countenance a compensation scheme to provide supports to those families and businesses hit by the ban. Following my intervention with the European Commission, who confirmed that there was no legal rationale preventing the introduction of such a scheme, Minister Seán Kyne agreed to develop a hardship scheme.
“But, the Minister and his Department are continuing to mess people about.
“The prospect of a scheme has been widely welcomed by those who feel that they will be eligible. However since May they have been waiting for further details as the Minister has failed to announce plans for the roll-out and eligibility criteria for the scheme.
“Minister Kyne had repeatedly stated that the hardship scheme would be in place before the summer recess but that deadline passed without comment from the department.
“Reports now suggest that of the €3.6 million set aside for the scheme, some €600,000 could be used for administration; this of course would be unacceptable. With almost 200 people likely to make applications that is a substantial potential cut to the funds. The Minister must clarify that the funds allotted go where they need to – to the families whose livelihoods were impacted by the Eel fishing ban.
“It is past time now for the government to stop dragging their heels on this issue. They must announce the details of the scheme and a time frame for applications as a matter of urgency.”