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  An Unfortunate Milestone for Cape Clear Island

An Unfortunate Milestone for Cape Clear Island - This item by Cailín Óir Manager Séamus Ó Drisceoil has also appeared in this month's Marine Times

Cape Clear Island passed a disappointing milestone in its long history with the news of the imminent departure of Conor Ó Drisceoil, the last full time fisherman on the Island from the fishing industry. His fine new boat, Atlantic Freedom has been a common site in North Harbour, with its frequent comings and goings, with early dawn starts on any morning fit to go to sea. It is almost impossible to imagine that this day has come to pass, for most of us it has sneaked up on us unawares and taken us by sad surprise although Conor himself and his immediate family will be aware of the difficulties that have beset him in the last number of years. It is difficult for non-fishermen to understand the vagrancies of the fishing industry but the most pertinent comment on the matter by an observant landlubber says it all, “It was not want of hard work and effort that brought Conor to this”. And indeed the long, difficult and challenging hours spent by Conor and colleague Lomax at sea are well known locally as is his considerable investment in fishing gear. His boat has been a familiar and comforting sight dancing across the length and breadth of the Bay and this author owes him a special debt of gratitude having been cheerfully towed home by Conor having been beset by engine failure. This was only one of many acts of helpfulness performed by Conor over the years. We commiserate with Conor and the rest of his family as we consider the loss not just to Conor himself but a hiatus in a very long tradition of fishing from Oileán Chléire.

Coming from such a small and clearly endangered community it is more than unfortunate and should be a matter for serious reflection that the Island cannot offer a living at sea for such a committed and serious hard worker. And yet, we continue to be besieged, as others are, seemingly unchecked,  by an unending wave of rules, laws, regulations and red tape in all walks of life but especially in the farming and fishing areas. Year on year opportunities are diminished and any effort to raise ourselves and our communities up again are hampered by more and more by red tape designed to protect, everything it seems, but continued human existence and prosperity.

As for Conor, we can only wish him a more prosperous future, wherever he finds himself.

Séamus Ó Drisceoil,

Oileán Chléire.

Atlantic Freedom in North harbour Cape Clear

email:   telephone: 028 41923