Government Has Failed Completely in Responding to the Fishing Industry in a Time of Real Difficulty - Pringle
Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said Government has failed to respond to the cost-of-living crisis that businesses are facing, and failed to support the fishing community at this difficult time.
Addressing the Dáil, Deputy Pringle said: “I support the creation of the Ukraine Credit Guarantee Scheme, developed under the provisions of the EU Temporary Crisis Framework, to support firms struggling with the economic difficulties resulting from the aggression against Ukraine by Russia.
“Recent months have been very difficult for small business owners, particularly those in rural Ireland,” he said. The deputy said energy costs aren’t the only significant increases they have had to endure.
Deputy Pringle said: “The high rate of inflation, due to the war, has led to all their suppliers having to increase costs as well. For them to maintain competitiveness, the small, rural shop has had to absorb some of these increases, which has impacted on their margins.”
He said: “This is completely unsustainable and without a doubt will force the closure of a number of local businesses in my own town and throughout my constituency.
“This Ukraine Credit Guarantee scheme, along with the likes of the TBESS scheme, are welcome but they are too little, too late. Businesses are facing closure today and many have been forced to close already.
“My own town of Killybegs has already seen closures due to rising costs,” he said.
The deputy said: “The outlook looks particularly bleak for Killybegs as well, as the fishing industry, on which the town was built, is taking hit after hit.
“I welcome that the Ukraine Credit Guarantee scheme will include primary producers such as farmers and fishermen as well. However, it is not nearly enough for our fishing industry, which is deteriorating very quickly. The survival of our coastal communities is at stake and throwing a bit of money at them this late in the game is sadly not going to make a blind bit of difference.
“Fishing communities have been calling for Minister McConalogue to provide emergency assistance, urgently needed to meet fuel costs, for months now,” he said.
The deputy said many other EU member states gave emergency fuel subsidies to their fishing fleets months ago, following the European Commission’s adoption of the Temporary Crisis Framework on March 23rd. The framework was initially only to be in place until Dec. 31st.
Deputy Pringle said: “What has the government been doing all this time? While other countries have successfully put in place emergency assistance, we have waited until we are in our winter months to actually do anything.”
He said: “This government’s inaction costs livelihoods, it costs our rural communities and our coastal communities. Minister McConalogue has turned a blind eye to our fishing industry for far too long. All that is on offer to them is a tie-up scheme as part of a Brexit response, rather than anything to do with the financial crisis.”
Deputy Pringle said: “The fishing communities have been calling for the implementation of aid measures since the Temporary Crisis Framework was adopted eight months ago. It simply isn’t good enough.
“This government has failed completely at responding to this cost-of-living crisis that businesses are facing. It has failed in responding to the fishing industry in a time of real difficulty, it has failed in meeting the needs of its citizens, and it’s been too slow in responding,” he said.