THIS week fishermen – and women – from all around our coasts travelled to Dublin to voice their concerns over the future of their industry.
This is the second time in a month that these hard working people of the sea have felt the need to bring their fears to a wider audience.
They were disappointed when, on May 26th in Cork, their walk to the constituency offices of the Taoiseach did not yield a meeting with the country’s political leader, though they had given advance notice of their intentions.
They made their annoyance at this perceived ‘snub’ known.
And so, last weekend, Micheál Martin made a ‘surprise’ visit to West Cork, to meet with them on their own turf – in both Union Hall and Castletownbere.
But the industry is still on its knees, with many members of the fleet saying they have never seen the situation so bad. Boat owners have unpaid mortgages, and those bad debts are leaning on the debts on their family homes. Brexit, stricter regulation and shrinking markets have all created the ‘perfect storm’ that has thrown the industry in Ireland into turmoil.
They see no light on the horizon, and they are hoping their pleas this week will finally yield the help and support they need to get back on their feet.