Fisheries body defends closure of ice plants over safety concerns

Fisheries body defends closure of ice plants over safety concerns

Bord Iascaigh Mhara has defended its decision to temporarily close three ice plants at some of Ireland's biggest fishing ports.

The authority made the decision because of employee health and safety concerns at the plants in Kilmore Quay, Howth and Dunmore East.

One of the concerns relates to staffing levels - with some staff working on their own.

The decision has prompted concern among fishermen who say their boats may be tied-up because of a shortage of ice.

In a statement this afternoon, BIM said there is no public safety risk and there is enough ice available to fishermen in all three plants.

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on Minister Simon Coveney to intervene immediately to ensure ice plants in Howth, Kilmore and Dunmore East are re-opened by tomorrow and accused the Minister of sleepwalking into the crisis.

“Fishermen along the East Coast are very concerned that their operations may be tied-up over the coming days and weeks as the ice plants in the three major ports are temporary closed due to health and safety concerns," she said.

“The health and safety of workers has to be paramount and BIM are correct to give priority to the wellbeing of its employees and contractors.

The current level of risk is due to under-resourcing of the fisheries sector by consecutive Governments over a number of decades, and the buck stops with Simon Coveney.

“Without ice, fishermen cannot ensure that their catch will arrive back to shore in saleable condition … with a huge negative impact on fishermen and those employed in support and processing industries."

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