The Perpetual Ghost: Yawns, and mentally says here we go again. As he waits for the speeches to begin he notes that the cream of the opposition is made up by Independents and that the main opposition parties are but a shadow of themselves –he mentally chuckles
An Ceann Comhairle: I call Deputy Ó Cuív, who has six minutes.
Deputy Eamon Ó Cuív: I get an extra bonus late at night.
An Ceann Comhairle: That is because you are a good boy.
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: That is right. I try to be good every day.
My understanding is that we have approximately 4% of the fish available to us but 14% of the waters. The Minister maintains we get 15% of the fish caught and we have 14% of the waters.
Deputy Simon Coveney: That is in Irish waters.
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: I suggest that of the total European catch of fish, it is 4%.
Deputy Simon Coveney: Yes.
Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: This means we are getting one quarter of our entitlement from the Common Fisheries Policy
The Perpetual Ghost: laughs and mentally communicates with the national audience of ghosts. A chorus of silent laughter echoes through the chamber “Boys everyone knows fisheries were sacrificed for farm subsidies”
Deputy Thomas Pringle: They have taken €500 billion from the seas around our coast in the intervening period and have left us with the scraps. One million tonnes of fish are taken from our waters every year out of which we take 170,000 tonnes.
Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: It is a crime for an island country such as ours that the fishing industry is teetering on the brink of extinction. Our so-called partners are supposedly helping us but in fact they are burying us in the interests of big financial and corporate interests in Europe.
The Perpetual Ghost: This will be fun. The ace hypocrite will now speak.
(The PG is a Ghost who recalls the past in totality and can foresee the future)
Deputy Mick Wallace: We are depleting the oceans.
It reminds me of a saying by a Cree native North American tribe that only when the last tree has died, the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.
The Perpetual Ghost: Observes the sayings of Wallace and allows himself a morally haughty smirk as he blows rings of ether with the words “Cowboy” dangling in the centre of the circle
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Deputy Simon Coveney)
I will try to respond to that profound comment at the end. Some of the commentary here has been inaccurate. The Irish fishing industry is not dying on its feet. Last year Irish fishing industry exports grew by 15%. T We also had some extremely wealthy people in the Irish fishing industry, in the pelagic sector in particular where there are 23 boats.
Deputy Martin Ferris: The Minister should compare the fleet size now and ten years ago.
Deputy Simon Coveney: The capacity for catch is just as high now. That said, I am not happy with the state of the industry.
I thank the Deputies for their frankness in contributing to the debate this evening. I certainly got a strong message from them and that will impact on the Government’s thinking.
The Perpetual Ghost: mutters the word Impact and laughs, oh my God government thinking, nonexistent, more thought emanates from the government crèche
The ghost knows that within the next year the only progress visible is fish dumped on the quayside of local fishing ports.
and how right he is.