Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Micheál Martin met with fishermen and heard some real life stories from skippers and people on the ground. He met with John Nolan manager of Castletownbere Fisherman's Co op and Patrick Murphy CEO Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, along with Skipper Damien Turner who is also Chairman of Irish South and West, Jason Sheehan Chairman of Castletownbere Fisherman's Co Op, Skipper John D O Sullivan, and Paddy O Sullivan. The Taoiseach was also accompanied by West Cork Deputy Christophor O Sullivan and Senator Tom Lombard.
The meeting lasted an hour and a half afterwards Damien Turner said, "It was an important day for the industry" He was delighted that the Taoiseach travelled to Castletownbere to meet with them, and really listened to their stories. Damien stated that "they gave a real account of life at sea without the stats and technical talk. It's very hard to keep a boat and seven crew, due to lack of quotas in the industry, but I can't walk away. It's my life it's all I've known. I love what I do and want to stay fishing but it has to be viable. There was a time when I would come ashore, off load and head back out to fish again. It is now more common that I have to remain ashore for a day or two between trips depending on available quota"
This is reality for our fishermen its hard on those who risk their lives and leave their families at home and head out to sea. They deserve a fair quota at present they only receive 15% of Irish waters. There is no other industry would tolerate this kind of treatment. Let hope, for the sake of our fishermen and rural communities that this is the start of meaningful discussion. Here are some of my photos from today‘s visit by An Taoiseach.