Farm Ireland

Monday 23 July 2018

Fisheries Board says ice from closed plants can be used

Fisherman David Price, who will be affected by the closing of the ice plant in Howth
Fisherman David Price, who will be affected by the closing of the ice plant in Howth

Jane O'Faherty and Sam Griffin

Fishermen will still be able to use ice from three plants, despite controversial orders for them to close being issued by the Fisheries Board.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has defended its decision to shut down the ice plants at Howth in Co Dublin, Dunmore East in Co Waterford, and Kilmore Quay in Wexford.

The agency made the decision this week because of health and safety concerns for workers at the plants.

BIM released a statement yesterday clarifying its position and said ice would remain available to all fishermen at each of the three plants.

In the statement, the agency said the issues with the plants were identified after an internal audit.

One such issue related to personnel shortages with some staff working on their own in the plants.

The agency also said there was concern over some of the buildings, which are more than 40 years old and may not comply with modern safety standards.

However BIM stressed there was no public safety risk detected in the plants.

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The decision to shut the plants has prompted huge concern among fishermen with many fearful they would not be able to operate while the plants were closed.

It has now emerged the plants will remain open to fishermen during this period.

The agency confirmed that while the plants will cease producing ice for a short period, ice is still available at each of the three plants.

"The health and safety issues relate to best practice with regard to employee health and safety," BIM said.

"It is very important to note that there is absolutely no public safety risk involved.

The agency added: "BIM would also like to state that there is currently ice available to fishermen in all three plants."

Francis O'Donnell of the Irish Fish Producers Association said there were no immediate concerns that ice stocks would run out.

"We have a week's worth of ice at the moment," he said.

He added that extra ice could be shipped in from other ice production units such as Union Hall in Co. Cork.

BIM stated that it hoped to reopen plants as soon as possible.

Irish Independent