20 March 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Cork South West TD Christopher O’Sullivan has called on the government to introduce supports for the fishing community who have been devastated by COVID-19.
In recent days it has become very apparent that the market for fish has contracted completely. The closure of restaurants across Europe has had a devastating effect on the industry, and some large supermarket chains have withdrawn the products from the shelves completely.
“I am calling on the government to introduce a range of support for the industry similar to measures we have seen in recent days,” Deputy O’Sullivan said.
“This would include financial aid and perhaps a moratorium on mortgages and loans for their vessels for a three month period.”
Deputy O’Sullivan has written to the chairperson and CEO of Board Bia asking them to highlight the availability of freshly caught fish in Irish waters for the Irish population.
“I can’t see any reason why our supermarket shelves can’t be stocked with Irish-caught fish instead of fish imported from the rest of Europe,” Deputy o’Sullivan said.
“I will be calling on government to begin immediate dialogue with shops and supermarket chains to encourage them to stock their shelves with Irish-caught fish.
“I have spoken at length with the Irish South and West fish producers organisation, and although they are concerned they insist they will not be found wanting in this time of crisis.”
Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation CEO Patrick Murphy said in a letter to TD’s he wants the immediate dialog started with local Shops and Supermarket Chains be expanded throughout the industry.
“This Industry nor theirs will not be found wanting in this time of crisis,” Mr Murphy said in a letter to TD’s
“We can and we will support each other during this crisis.”