The Taoiseach asked to step in to help Arklow’s fisherman with € 1million debts
The Taoiseach is expected to step in to help an Arklow skipper in debt a million euros after the purchase of a beam trawler that later proved dangerous, according to a TD from Wicklow.
inn Fein MP John Brady enlisted the help of Taoiseach Micheal Martin to help fisherman CJ Gaffney, who purchased the beam trawler “Mary Kate” in 2007. Although the vessel was certified safe by German authorities, it was was subsequently found to be dangerously unstable. The “Mary Kate” was then taken over and sold, leaving debts of around 1 million euros.
The EU said the case fell under national law and suggested Ireland could use the fisheries funding to compensate Mr Gaffney. However, Mr. Gaffney’s appeals for help were dismissed.
Deputy Brady said, “CJ Gaffney is an ordinary individual who in good faith bought a fishing trawler, the Mary Kate WD30. It has been found fit for use by several surveys and passed as seaworthy by the Marine Survey Office. It was later found to have serious stability problems, tests showed that 20 tons of unrecorded steel were in the ship. The family has spent considerable funds trying to rectify the serious problems. Funds were eventually depleted, leaving the family without a boat or finances.
“This problem has turned out to be a fault of this particular type of vessel across Europe, and indeed many EU states have taken steps to protect their own fisheries.
“The European Commission previously informed Mr Gaffney that even if the matter was outside its remit, the Irish government would be able to draw EU funds from the European Fisheries Fund to compensate Mr Gaffney, given the circumstances very particular to his case.
“The Irish government has failed to do this. And what we have witnessed is a case of “shifting the ball” between departments as they try to avoid taking responsibility for the matter. ”
Deputy Brady said he wrote to Taoiseach, asking him to confirm which department should handle Mr Gaffney’s case and describe how to reach a solution.
Deputy Brady called on the Taoiseach to discuss the matter with the Transport and Navy ministers “and determine which of them will fix this mess to allow the Gaffney family to continue with their lives.”
Mr. Gaffney met with Marine Minister McConalogue in July. After the meeting, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine said the issue concerned “a private business transaction between two contracting parties for the purchase of a vessel.”
They added: “The responsibility for ensuring the authenticity of details, specifications and stability of the purchased vessel rested with the purchaser. The central issue here concerns the safety and safety certification of the vessel purchased by Mr. Gaffney. Fishing vessel safety and safety certification, including matters relating to stability, are the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport, Tourism and Sports. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Marine has no function with regard to the safety certification of fishing vessels or matters relating to their stability.