MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has welcomed the publication of a new report by the Irish Farmers Association entitled “Removing Barriers to Irish Aquaculture Development.” The report highlights the severe bureaucracy and red tape affecting the fish farming sector in Ireland.
The findings of the report notes that the delays are preventing up to 2,000 new jobs and 60 million euro in lost investment in peripheral and coastal areas throughout Ireland.
Mr Gallagher stated today, “It is totally unacceptable that up to 600 applications for fish farming licences have been in the system for up to seven years. On several occasions over the past five years in the European Parliament, I have strongly called for the establishment of a one-stop shop in Ireland to deal with the approval of licences, drawing on best practice in other countries such as Scotland.”
Mr Gallagher noted that at a European level, “the European Parliament and the European Commission fully supports the development of sustainable aquaculture and the new Common Fisheries Policy includes several supporting measures. However, Irish regulators appear to be incapable of getting past the inertia, which began with their inability to deal with the Habitats Directive and continues still to hamper job and export creation in peripheral and coastal areas.”
Mr Gallagher continued “It is quite obvious to everyone that a valuable opportunity is being lost here, particularly for our coastal communities, where often there is no source of alternative employment. I can understand the huge frustration of businessmen and women trying to keep their coastal communities alive by making a living from the sea in an industry recognised for its quality and professionalism. We need to create an atmosphere conducive to job creation, not an atmosphere that prevents employment.”
“Without these SMEs our villages and towns along the periphery would disappear. It is assistance, not obstacles, we urgently require and the IFA’s report once again highlights that urgent action is needed by the Government to resolve the delays affecting the fish farming sector”.