Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has backed calls for Cork to be developed into a maritime cluster.
The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Fisheries Committee, was speaking as she attended the Our Ocean Wealth Summit in Galway.
“I was very pleased with the positive response that was given to the idea of Cork being developed into a maritime cluster,” she said.
“There were many people there who agreed that Cork was the natural place for such a development that would allow the city to become a hub for marine innovation, R&D, biotech, engineering for offshore renewables, transportation and much more.
“The potential is clearly there, what is needed now is the political will. It would require serious infrastructural improvement and investment in things like affordable housing.
“These are big projects but they are things the city already needs and the creation of a maritime cluster would provide a major economic boost for the entire region, drawing in and working with other ports from Bantry to Rosslare.”
Brexit was the major focus of the summit but Liadh reminded stakeholders not to let small, indigenous fishermen be forgotten in the vast range of issues that Brexit effects.
“I want to see the creation of a fairer and more accessible mutual fund for fishermen so they can avail of compensation and emergency funding when they need it,” she said.
“As it stands the current fund can be impossible for smaller scale fishermen to pay into or draw don from when conditions mean they aren’t even able to fish for much of the year.
“We must also keep up the fight for a fairer quota for our fishermen, especially in the small scale sector. Boat being ousted from British waters must not just be shunted into Irish waters, we cannot allow Brexit to destroy our indigenous fishing industry.”
Liadh Ní Riada MEP
6 Patrick’s Quay, Cork
021 451 8986