Following the report published last week by the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which examined the underuse of Ireland’s six Fishery Harbour Centres, Thomas Pringle, Independent TD for Donegal South West has called on Minister Simon Coveney to refocus investment towards harbours to increase their commercial activity.

Mr Pringle said, “Killybegs Harbour has great job potential but lack of investment over the years has meant a vacant auction hall and a failure to draw in potential customers to purchase fresh fish that has been landed that day.

“The report is accurate in recommending a review of vacant harbour properties to see how they can be utilised to expand fishing and food industries.”

He added, “A big problem remains with legacy issues around litigation. As we’ve seen in Killybegs this has fractured the relationship between Department officials and the local community.

“Better communication needs to be fostered and I strongly agree with the report that a disputes resolution mechanism be established for harbour centres like Killybegs. Disputes could be settled through arbitration measures as opposed to litigation as was the case in the past.”