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Minister Need Not Have Bothered

Marine Minister Michael Creed sent a long, detailed letter, to the country’s four fish producer organisations after they accused him and his Department last week of turning their backs on the industry. It was an explanation of why he had rejected the joint proposal put forward by the producers for a scheme of assistance to the fishing industry in the current crisis caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. Their proposal was an alternative to his Department’s temporary tie-up scheme.

Mr. Creed need not have bothered, nor the civil servants who drafted the letter, because Ministers do not usually do this work themselves. We hear that the contents of the letter revealed noting new and promised no revised scheme in response to the industry’s proposals. It did not impress those who received it and did not offer the level of support which the producers had sought.

This week the Minister and his Department, which includes agriculture and food responsibilities, convened a meeting for stakeholders about the on-going issues involved for all of them in the on-going Brexit negotiations, which still continue, although its prominence has been reduced in recent weeks because of the effects of Covid 19. This was a briefing for agriculture, fisheries and food interests, about the negotiations which, where fisheries are concerned, are of vital importance.

There was not a lot new disclosed to the fishing industry, so the MARINE TIMES has been told. The Minister left the meeting after delivering to it his own views, but did not stay to listen to those of stakeholders, nor to refer to the on-going fisheries issues.

Unsurprisingly, when the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, issued a press statement about this meeting, it concentrated on agriculture.

It appears that, despite the problems caused by the pandemic, the fishing industry does not have the highest rating with the Minister and his Department officials.

Again, we urge that this attitude should change.

Will a new Government ordain such a change?

It would be of interest to the fishing industry, to all employed within it and to the coastal communities dependent upon it to know.