Sinn Féin Councillor Conor McGuinness has said that instability and a lack of leadership on the part of the Government is causing harm to both the farming sector and the fishing industry.
Cllr. McGuinness said:
“In a period of two months we have seen three senior ministers in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. There are pressing issues affecting farmers and fishermen in Waterford that are not being dealt with as a result of the growing instability that surrounds this Government.
“Farmers are grappling with a number of hugely serious issues including increasing market inequalities, Brexit, beef exports, CAP reform, the real need for a sheep taskforce, the beef finisher scheme, impending EU trade deals such as Mercosur, and implications of Coronavirus, not least in the meat processing sector.
“The fishing industry is also suffering as a result of the chaos and lack of leadership. The new Government appointed two junior ministers to this Department yet neither of them was given responsibility for fisheries. It shows that this Government has zero interest in the Irish fishing industry, not only has the sector been thrown in under agriculture, but it hasn’t even been allocated a junior minister.
“In recent days we have seen Taoiseach Micheál Martin, as acting Agriculture Minister, sign regulations to introduce a botched penalty points system that will penalise Irish fishing boats and allow vessels from other countries free rein in our waters.
“It’s time for leadership on these issues. Rural and coastal communities cannot continue to suffer from a rudderless Government. The chaos cannot be allowed to continue.”