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It's .... and MARINE!

The new Marine Minister has said that the fishing and maritime community should not feel concerned because he is from a landlocked county. 52-year-old Barry Cowen from Clara in County Offaly was responding to mixed reaction from the marine sector to his appointment.

He is brother of former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, after whose retirement from the Dáil he was elected. An auctioneer and valuer by profession, he was Fianna Fail spokesman on Public Expenditure and Reform in the last Dáil.

His new Ministerial portfolio is Agriculture and the Marine. Not that you could decipher that from the media announcements on the day the new Government was formed – every time Minister Cowen was announced or introduced to us the mainstream media neglected to indicate that MARINE was in the name of his Department!

In his first address to the European Commission this week he said: “Ireland, as an island nation, is committed to protecting the interests of its fishing industry, with serious issues involving quotas shares and access to UK waters.”

In his first week in office he announced €3.4 million in new investment by 15 aquaculture enterprises. It will be interesting to see how he addresses other issues pending.

The main party in opposition of the new Government, Sinn Fein have also appointed their spokesperson for Agriculture and Marine, Matt Carty, also hailing from a ‘landlocked county’. Interestingly and also worrying is the press release from Mr Carty expressing his thanks for his appointment and the work ahead fails throughout to mention MARINE matters others than in the title of the press release ….

A lot of work to be done folks, we will be keeping a very close eye here in the Marine Times on everyone.