Dáil Éireann - Volume 324 - 20 November, 1980

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - BIM Boat Loans.

8. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forestry the number of fishermen who have boat loans from Bord Iascaigh Mhara at present; the number of these who are in arrears with payments; and the number who have been served with court orders for the repossession of their boats.

Mr. Lenihan: As the reply is in the form of a tabular statement I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle to have it circulated with the Official Report.

Mr. Deasy: Surely the Minister could give us the information since there are only three figures involved?

Mr. Lenihan: As the Deputy is always a very courteous person I shall give him the details.

Mr. Donnellan: There is no reason why the Minister should——

Mr. Lenihan: The following is the statement:

(a) Current number of loans for boats

441

(b) Current number of accounts in arrears

282

(c) Number of court orders for repossession received and implemented

5

[959](d) Number of court orders currently held by the board for repossession of vessels

8

Mr. Deasy: Is the number of people in arrears not extraordinarily high? Out of a total number of 441 who have loans, 282 are in arrears.

Mr. Lenihan: The Deputy should be aware that because of the nature of the business there are always arrears, but the board adopt a pragmatic and humanitarian approach and proceed only when they must do so. The number of court orders is only five.

Mr. White: The Minister is aware that this figure has increased?

Mr. Lenihan: Five out of 441.

Mr. White: Is the Minister aware that the number of people in arrears has increased from just over 240 to 282 in the past five months? This shows the hardship being suffered by fishermen.

Mr. Lenihan: There always have been, are and always will be arrears by reason of the uncertain and cyclical nature of the business. But the important figure is the number of court orders for repossession and this stands at five out of 441 current loans for boats.

Mr. O'Keeffe: Surely the Minister cannot express any satisfaction with the situation where 63.9 per cent of fishermen are in arrears because they are not permitted to make any money in fishing at present. In the light of this appalling percentage, is the Minister prepared even at this stage to hold out any ray of hope to fishermen that would enable them to meet their repayments in the coming months?

Mr. Lenihan: I have given the pertinent figures in this matter.

An Ceann Comhairle: A final supplementary from Deputy Begley.

[960] Mr. Lenihan: There always have been and there always will be arrears in this business because of its very nature.

Mr. O'Keeffe: The Minister is adopting a totally complacent and indifferent approach to the problem.

Mr. Begley: Is the Minister now giving an undertaking to the House that there will be only five repossession orders for trawlers? Will he give that solemn undertaking to the House?

Mr. Lenihan: I am giving the Deputy the facts. The number of court orders for repossession is five.

Mr. Begley: The Minister is not saying that it will stop at five.