Ombudsman Peter Tyndall today welcomed Minister Michael Creed’s announcement that he will implement an Ombudsman recommendation that a Donegal family receive compensation of €245,570.
The announcement follows an initial refusal in 2009 by the then Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to implement the recommendation. The recommendation came after the family had their application under the states Lost at Sea scheme refused. The had applied after a fishing accident which claimed the lives of five people, including the family’s father and son.
The scheme was first set up in 2001, aimed at those who had lost a vessel at sea between 1980 and 1989. Any successful applicant was made an award of ‘capacity’, allowing for a new vessel to be licensed and registered as a fishing boat.
The Donegal family in question, the Byrnes, had applied to the scheme after Francis Byrne (father and owner of the vessel) and his son Jimmy (16) died along with three other men when their boat sank off the Donegal coast.
The family’s subsequent application under the scheme was then refused, though the family then filed a complaint. Emer O’Reilly, who was the Ombudsman at the time, found after investigation that the scheme and the way it was advertised were contrary to fair and sound administration. She recommended that the family be compensated in the region of €245,570. This recommendation was refused by the department, for the first time in the office’s 34-year history.
Peter Tyndall, the now ombudsman, spoke at his delight at the news, something he was highlighting since he became ombudsman in 2013.
“This was a heartbreaking tragedy for the Byrne family and the families of the other men who died. The family have had to pursue this case for over fifteen years.”, said Peter.
“ I am pleased that Minister Creed has now implemented this recommendation and has righted a wrong that was done to the family so many years ago.”, he concluded.