Department refuses to meet “Lost at Sea” compensation recommendation

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food says it will not pay compensation of almost quarter of a million euro to a South Donegal family, as recommended by Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, as it fears doing so would leave the government exposed to major financial liability.

The report relates Lost at Sea scheme was introduced in 2001 to compensate fishermen who had lost their trawlers and could not afford to return to fishing.

When the Lost at Sea scheme was introduced, the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources wrote to some fishermen who had lost boats at sea, inviting them to apply to the scheme, but it's been claimed that was done on a very selective basis in a way that favoured constituents of then minister Frank Fahey.

Despite the sinking of the Skifjord in 1981 with the loss of Francis Byrne, his son and three other crewmen, the Byrne family was not informed of the scheme.