Marine Minister responds to plea from Kerry fishermen

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney says it is unlikely that an application by Ireland to the European Union Solidarity Fund would succeed.  He says the amount of damage and the number of people affected by the recent storms will not meet the national or regional criteria. Fishing Trawler The Minister says he is working closely with his ministerial colleagues to develop a co-ordinated response by local authorities, government departments and agencies to the damage that has been wreaked on coastal communities as a result of the storms. Most of the harbours and piers around the coast which have been affected are owned by local authorities which are responsible for their repair. Last week a West Kerry fisherman called for an aid package for fishermen who haven’t been able to work since December due to the weather. Michael Hennessy also suggested the possibility of holding over quotas that haven’t been filled due to the adverse weather. The Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation is also calling for a compensation scheme. The organisation says it has been a double blow for inshore fishermen, as many have lost tens of thousands of euro worth of gear in addition, to being unable to fish due to the severe weather.