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RIP: Donal Dan O'Driscoll

The South and West members would like to convey to the O’Driscoll family there is a great sadness amongst the fishing Industry today but want to assure the community of Ireland fishing people this is overwhelmed by the strong fond memories we have of this great man and wish to acknowledge the contribution Donal has made to Irelands Fishing Industry.

Our admiration and gratitude cannot be fully expressed in the traditional way during these unprecedented time’s, we as a community will find other ways to express our heartfelt gratitude and respect when we bid farewell but please take solace knowing those who knew the man will always hold a special place in their hearts for Donal Dan.

Donal will forever be known to those in our Industry as one of Ireland's most vocal, articulate and valued representative of Irelands fishing Industry in the past decades, he is known both at home and abroad as DONAL "DAN" O'DRISCOLL as one our Industries most forward thinking Professional Businessman of our time.

His achievements are there for all to see it is documented by the modern fleet we see today around our coastline.

His intellect was evident early on in this long and successful career, the love he had for his cherished Profession as a fisherman was often visible and evident through his tireless championing of the Irish Fishing Industry, never for his own personal gain but for all who sail our beautiful Sea’s. History will of course show why this man and his vision was at odds with those who implemented a slash and destroy policy .

Since the Industrial Revolution, we as the human race, have sought to build and modernize the world around us and still seek to build develop and grow, this is not so however for the Irish fishing Industry that have seen from the dedicated work of visionaries such as Donal Dan O'Driscoll, safer bigger better vessels that can compete with foreign fleets in our 200 mile EEZ using technology that continues to develop not to increase catches but like a surgeons scalpel fish with precision and catch the species that are only catch the fish you have authorisation to catch.

The twist for our Industry is we see time and time again policy that reduces our fleet and tears down our numbers forcing more voyages in more raging seas than ever before to stay pardon the pun afloat.

All through his life Donal fought for the fishing Industry and some of this story is told so well following his interview with Pat Nolan recorded for prosperity in the Book Following the Shoals: Cornerstones of Modern Irish Fishing (This interview first appeared in the Jan and Feb issue sof the Marine Times Newspaper in 2010 - you can download a copy by clicking on any of he images on this page)

We all know of the O Driscoll brothers, who left the Island of Sherkin to strengthen their businesses to become leaders in the modernisation of our fishing Industry. Through their hard work with fellow fishermen they changed the Industry into a modern business by uniting together to form a fisherman's Co-operative in Castletownbere this action secured stable prices which in turn led to the fleet we see today, new modern vessels in the harbour today financed on stable prices and secure markets.

Donal strived to improve the income of crews and championed the modernising of vessels to make them safer places of work and he helped secure this welcome development in a short period of time.

Donal will be remembered as a champion of the Irish Fishing Industry and spent decades fighting to bring attention to what remains to this day a wholly unfair Common Fisheries Policy for Irish Fishermen and women.

However part of his legacy to the Irish fishing Industry along with one of his greatest friends Tom Hassett also sadly no longer with; As one of the founders of Castletownbere Fisherman’s Co Op, founder of The Irish South and West Fisherman's Organisation that is today The Irish South & West Fish Producer Organisation Donal has left us a strong Organisation to continue to be a voice for the fishermen and women of the South West and the entire coastline of Ireland.

The South and West will continue his unfinished work, to speak for our people in our coastal communities so I finish by saying a simple, “thank you Donal you will never be equalled nor forgotten”.

On behalf of the Staff, Directors and Members of the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, May you rest in peace “Fear an Farraige”.