Thursday, 12 May 2022
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Security: Statements
Charlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
There was a recent announcement of investment of €35 million in the processing sector. The heartland of the processing sector is Killybegs and all of the companies in the town will be able to avail of that funding, which is very significant.
At national level, we are battling at all stages for additional quotas. The biggest single impact on our national quota and fisheries sector over the past generation has been Brexit. Deputy Pringle, who is from Killybegs, ardently supported and advocated for Brexit. While the Deputy did not have a vote in Northern Ireland or Britain, he ardently supported Brexit. Nowhere in Europe has been more impacted by Brexit than Killybegs, which is the centre of the national fishing industry. No sector of our economy has been more affected by Brexit than fisheries. If Deputy Pringle wants to wonder about making an impact as a local Deputy backing fisheries, perhaps he should take a look in the mirror and consider the impact of his own policy. Not many paid attention but the policy he advocated for had that impact.
On fisheries policy and control issues, this has been a challenging time. Representatives of the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority will attend the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine next week, which will be a good opportunity for discussion of those issues.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn raised the issue of weighing in Derry versus Killybegs and the impact of Brexit on that. There has not been any change since Brexit. The situation that pertains post-Brexit as regards weighing control between Derry and Killybegs and Northern Ireland and the Republic is the same as was prior to Brexit. Brexit has not been a factor in that. The same control issues and rules apply.
For a Deputy who was supposedly seeking this debate for ten weeks, Deputy Mattie McGrath did not have a whole lot to say or there was not a whole lot of content in what he said. The Deputy went around the house pressing lots of buttons but I did not pick up much substance, which is no change from the usual.