Fine Gael TD for Longford-Westmeath, Peter Burke, has said that he is fighting “tooth and nail” to prevent the closure of Cullion Fish Farm.
In April, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI ) announced plans to exit fish farm operations, meaning the closure of Cullion Fish Farm, a decision which has been met with fierce opposition in the local community and among anglers.
Deputy Burke slammed the approach taken by the IFI in the Dáil last week: “Cullion Fish Farm is a facility I have supported since my time on the council and one which provides huge value and revenue to Mullingar and the entire midlands region,” he said.
“As a lake county, we are hugely dependent on lake tourism and trout fishing. A study commissioned in 2013 entitled “A Socio-economic Study of Recreational Angling in Ireland” showed that angling tourism in Ireland is generating a dividend in excess of €0.75 billion within the Irish economy every year, and supporting 10,000 jobs.
“Every county in Ireland depends on fish stocks from either Cullion or Roscrea. The decision to close Cullion is highly irresponsible and I will be fighting hard to reverse it.“
Deputy Burke said he has raised this issue with the Taoiseach and the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Natural Resources, Sean Kyne. He said Minister Kyne has confirmed that he will be organising a meeting with the board of the IFI and all stakeholders to try and work out a solution to the issue.
“The staff at Cullion have worked extremely hard to develop resilient trout breeds, and over 50 years of development have gone in to certain breeds which have been approved by the Marine Institute,” Deputy Burke said. “Imported fish will not even begin to reach these high standards and could have diseases which would compromise our entire network.”
He called for “open and meaningful consultation and not a predetermined process presented as a fait accompli to the sector”.