Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Order of Business
David Cullinane (Sinn Fein)
I am sure that all Senators will join with me in expressing relief that all five bodies have been recovered from the sea following the sinking of the Tit Bonhomme fishing trawler, and in commending the communities of Union Hall in west Cork and the Gaeltacht area in west Waterford where one of the fishermen who lost his life, Michael Hayes, spent a lot of his time. A huge community effort was put in. Fishermen from throughout the country lent their boats to aid the recovery of the bodies. Divers were brought in from throughout the country. People in the communities supplied food and other supplies. It was a great community effort.
A call was made by Mr. Hayes's family at his funeral for various Government agencies to look at introducing personal emergency beacons to fishermen. This is a formal GPS system that is placed on the wrists of fishermen so that if a boat sinks and we have a tragedy like this in future, it will be much easier for the rescue operators to recover bodies. No one wants to see a situation again where we wait for weeks on end while divers try to recover the missing bodies. That causes huge trauma for the families. There have been major advances in technology and it is to be hoped the political exists to implement this change. I know the Taoiseach visited the families, as did the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and they have been very supportive of them. They said they would investigate this. I ask the Leader to convey to the Taoiseach the importance of this issue and one hopes there will be some movement. It is important to ensure what happened in recent weeks does not happen to other families.