Without the marine sector, this island nation would be in great difficulties. It could not export or import all the goods it needs. 95 per cent of Ireland’s exports and imports move by sea.
The Coalition parties in their plan for government declared: “We are committed to prioritising the development of the marine. As an island nation, Ireland has a special relationship with the ocean.”
So far, there is no indication of delivery on that commitment. The marine sector remains placed at a low point in the State administrative system.
It is last named in the ‘Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Maritime affairs are the ‘last thought’. Apects of the marine are spread across several government departments. Ports, Coast Guard, are within the Department of Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport. The section which deals with the vital area of ports, shipping, is again the last thought. Other marine areas - the rivers, estuaries, the foreshore, are spread amongst different departments, even in housing! It is at times, difficult to locate where responsibility for a particular maritime sphere is located.
This is ludicrous in an island nation. The lesson of history in this regard has been forgotten. The Coalition parties stated, in government, they would “continue to sustainably develop the marine sector.”
So far they have not shown much commitment to delivering on that undertaking.