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Tuesday 23 September 2014

'It's been 63 days since I've worked' says fisherman

Published 10/02/2014 | 02:30

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Skipper Michael Hennessy from Dingle has been unable to take his crew out to sea. Photo: DOMNICK WALSH/EYE FOCUS
Skipper Michael Hennessy from Dingle has been unable to take his crew out to sea. Photo: DOMNICK WALSH/EYE FOCUS

THE last time fisherman Michael Hennessy went to sea was in early December.

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Since then his boat 'Realt na Mara' has been moored at Dingle Pier and his two-man crew left with no work and no income.

As skipper, Mr Hennessy (50), a married father of two, is self-employed and not entitled to any social welfare payment for the days he can't work.

He says the two men working with him on the boat are in a similar situation, like many of his neighbours operating small inshore boats that don't go beyond a 12-mile radius of the shore.

"Most of the lads fishing with me have young families to support. The way it works is we're paid when we have fish but when there's no fish there's no money.

"We each get a share of the catch but when there's no catch there's no share," explained Mr Hennessy, who has been fishing out of Dingle for over 30 years.

"Our representative organisations are making no noise especially about the inshore boats.

"The last time we were fishing was on December 8. We were down in Dunmore East herring fishing."

He said the loss of a lot of equipment such as pots and nets in the storms has added to their woes.

"The farmers get aid packages but we haven't got anything like that in over 20 years from Bord Iascaigh Mhara. There hasn't been one cent put in place since to help out the fishermen," Mr Hennessy added.

Irish Independent

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