April 26 – May 30, 2024

Castletownbere fishing community features in TG4 documentary investigating the impact of Brexit

T he serious impact of the EU post-Brexit trade deal on the livelihood of fishing communities along the west coast of Ireland is the subject of an investigative documentary ‘Iniúchadh TG4 - Anfa Mara’ that was broadcast on TG4 this week. If you missed it on Wednesday, you can watch it on TG4 Player. In the documentary investi- gative journalist Kevin Magee hears first-hand from fishermen in Greencastle and Machaire Rabhartaigh, Co. Donegal, Rossaveel and Inis Mór, Co.Galway, Dingle, Co. Kerry and Casteltownbere, Co. Cork on how their incomes are being squeezed post Brexit. The fishermen are angry that an estimated 15 per cent of the value of the Irish fishing quota has been taken from them and assigned to the UK as part of the Brexit trade agreement reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union, known as the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agree- ment (TCA) that came into force in January 2021. The loss of quota to the Irish fleet represents a serious blow to the fishing industry, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. tells the programme.

“Brexit has been a big hit. It has been the most significant hit to quotas since the Common Fisheries Policy was being established back 45 years ago. “Brexit wasn’t my idea. And Brexit was a very bad idea. Brexit damaged the country that did it, and it damaged its most neighbouring country, and the sector within our own country that has been most impacted is fisheries.” “In order for a deal to hap- pen, there was a re-allocation of EU quota including Irish quota as a result, and that has hurt. There is no two ways about that.” While the overall quota reduction for Irish fish is down 15 per cent, some species are affected more than others. The share for Ireland’s largest non-pelagic fishery, prawns, is down 14 per cent, and the re- duction for herring in the Irish sea is 96 per cent, according to figures supplied by the DAFM. “We’ll never fish herring in the Irish Sea again. In the wintertime you could have picked two or three weeks of wages for your crew, to pay for your business, the whole lot. That’s gone, that opportunity,” Greencastle skipper Michael Cavanagh told the programme. Reddy Ó Faoláin has been fishing out of Castletownbere

viable. If a percentage wanted to exit and be paid to exit, it would then free up the amount of quota, the per centage of our national quota that those boats would have had. That then gets reallocated among the remain- ing boats. “ The programme also hears from Aran Islander John Conneely who had two boats decommissioned, the MFV Connacht Ranger and the Conquest. He said: “I suppose you could say that there’s a lot of money in it, but there was a lot of money owed to the banks as well. The banks took a lot of it (decommissioning money). They got most of it. It would have been a lot better if they had helped us to stay in business, but there was no talk of that.” A total of 39 vessels were decommissioned according to Bord Iascaigh Mhara, as part of a scheme funded under the European Commission’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR). The amount spent on the decommissioning scheme was €59.3m, with €28.9m spent on the Brexit Temporary Tie scheme which aimed to temporarily mitigate the neg- ative impact on the white fish sector as a result of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Reddy Ó Faoláin has been fishing out of Castletownbere for the past 30 years.

in county Cork for the past 30 years. He said: “The quota was much bigger last year. It’s this year the cuts in the quotas have been introduced that we gave to England and that has a huge impact on the margins the boats make in a month. We used to have 25 tonnes and now we only have 18 tonnes. That’s two thirds of your take home pay gone every week. No one is able to lose two thirds of their pay and not say anything about it. We are all saying the same thing – give us a little bit I sobel Towse is the Social Democrats candidate for Skibbereen - West Cork, which encompasses all the many beautiful towns and villages from Cape Clear, to Clonakilty, to Dunmanway. A Sherkin native and a mother-of-one, Isobel has lived and worked around Clonakilty for the last 10 years, teaching music in primary schools and more recently working closely with Holly Cairns TD on local issues for the constituency office. She holds a BSc in International Development, and a Diploma in Environment, Sustainability and Climate, both from UCC, which have helped inform her vision for a more vibrant West Cork community. At its most basic level, Isobel’s vision looks something like this: vacant and derelict homes are brought back to life; more public land is allocated to social and affordable hous- ing; everyone has consistent

of the quota, that’s what we want. We’re not looking for handouts, we just want to fish and feed people.” Irish fishermen tell the programme they are frustrated that foreign boats from other EU countries continue fishing in Irish waters while they often remain tied-up on the quayside because they have reached their monthly allocated catch. Spiddal native Tomás Ó Féinneadha is a crew member on the Sarah David which is currently tied-up in Castle- townbere. He said: “We were

landing fish yesterday. We’re going to be docked now for three months. We’ve no quota left. There’s nothing at all left. It’s scandalous. We don’t have much of a quota and we can’t do anything about it.” To help reduce the impact of the quotas lost through Brexit, the Department introduced a decommissioning scheme to remove fishing vessels from the Irish fleet. Minister McConalogue ex- plained the reason behind it. “It was to re-size the fleet in order to make sure that boats were

Local Elections Candidate: Isobel Towse

access to clean drinking water that doesn’t reek of chlorine; small businesses and commu- nity groups at the heart of our communities are thriving and supported; migrants are well integrated; and somebody, somewhere, has finally fixed the damned roads! These issues are largely within the council’s remit, though reliant on adequate departmental funding, which Isobel says she will ‘persistently’ push for. For a rich country with record budget surpluses the last few years, Isobel feels these issues are a case of political will, and a reflection of the same tired parties with the same damaging policies and wrong priorities who have been in power for far too long (over 100 years). Isobel believes new, young- er, female voices are desper- ately needed on Cork County Council. Having been raised amongst a very active island com- munity, and now working in

politics with Deputy Cairns (and previously with Cllr. Ross O’Connell), Isobel is acutely aware of local and national issues alike, and how important it is to tackle issues at a grassroots (people), local (council) and national (government) level simulta- neously. This brings home the need for better communication, particularly since the loss of town councils, as it is local people who know what’s best for their own community and should have the most power in decision making. Through her close working relationship with the Social Democrats party, she says she will continue to advocate on national issues too, like healthcare, childcare, dis- ability rights, and the genocide in Gaza, because she believes we need to elect people who are multifaceted, have a strong conscience and the drive to effect real change where it really matters. Isobel understands the issues

we need to address locally: Shannonvale, Owenahincha and Dunmanway all urgently need works to their wastewater treatment plants to halt pollu- tion and allow development. A plan must be developed for our coastal communities which are soon going to find themselves at the forefront of brand new legislation regarding Marine Protected Areas and offshore renewable energy. She wants to support more sustainable farming, and to see our existing wild spaces including Lough Hyne Nature Reserve properly protected. Our artists, musi- cians and creatives must be supported so they can keep creating to their (and our) hearts content. Perhaps most crucially, we must regain time- ly access to respite places, GPs, ambulances and SouthDoc in West Cork. Overall, the focus will be on increasing the supply of housing, and bringing a new approach of fresh energy and ‘more mná’ to the council.

Brendan McCARTHY Local Election Candidate SKIBBEREEN-WEST CORK  086-8617605

Isobel Towse For a fair & vibrant West Cork Isobel _ Towse _ West _ Cork Local Election Candidate for Skibbereen - West Cork

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