Seanad hears call for full “Lost at Sea” investigation

Donegal Senator Pearse Doherty has told the Seanad that the Ombudsman’s assessment of the Lost at Sea scheme as ‘deficient and flawed’ was correct, and a full investigation is necessary into all aspects of how the scheme operated.

The Agriculture and Fisheries Committee has now backtracked on a previous decision and agreed to invite the Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly in to a meeting.

Senator Doherty has welcomed that u-turn, and says he hopes her appearance will lead to the payment of quarter of a million euro in compensation to the Byrne family from Bruckless, in accordance with her recommendations.

He said the attitude of Department officials probably reflected their own scepticism regarding the Lost at Sea Scheme.

He said when the Scheme was proposed there was opposition to it from within the Department on the basis of concerns over allocating quota but the then Minister Frank Fahey overruled those objections. He said the manner in which the scheme operated only heightened that concern.

Raising questions about the fact that the bulk of the compensation under the scheme went to two of Mr Fahey's constituents, one of whom had initially been rejected as ineligible, Senator Doherty said it's clear that a full investigation needs to be carried out into all aspects of the way in which the Lost at Sea scheme operated.