I am dealing with a ‘life sentence’ of debt price €2m as a result of I used to be offered a ‘faulty’ trawler, ex-fisherman says

A FORMER fisherman has informed how he’s been handed “a life sentence” after he was left €2 million in debt when he was offered a trawler, which he claims was faulty.

CJ Gaffney, from Arklow, Co Wicklow, purchased the Mary Kate WD30 in Germany in 2009 and on the time the vessel was deemed secure by German authorities, who had stamped its EU papers.

CJ Gaffney has been left with debts of €2 million


CJ Gaffney has been left with money owed of €2 millionCredit score: Garry O'Neill – The Solar Dublin
The Mary Kate WD30 shortly after it was purchased


The Mary Kate WD30 shortly after it was bought

However when the boat nearly capsized on two events with 4 crew on board, practically 20 tonnes of metal was found once they carried out their very own impartial security checks.

He claims this additional weight made the 24m boat utterly unstable and too harmful for the water.

Since then CJ and his household have been plunged right into a endless a nightmare with a nugatory ship that was later offered repaired for a snip to a fisherman in Cork.

The fifth technology fisherman was pressured to show his again on the profitable profession he liked, owing a fortune to the banks and with no court docket having the ability to tackle a case for him.

The heartbroken Wicklow man informed the Irish Solar: “We paid €750,000 for the boat and one other €750,000 for the licence however it has simply been an absolute nightmare from minute one.

“I now work in Dublin Port as a result of I had to surrender fishing altogether. I had a terrific profession and a really profitable one.

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“After we purchased Mary Kate we did all the proper issues. The boat had all the mandatory paperwork and security paperwork however it practically killed a couple of folks on it on two events by toppling over.

“We had it checked they usually discovered this additional metal on the boat. They realize it’s there, simply unsure the place about. This additional weight made it utterly unstable and harmful.

“We had consultants look it over and it was decided that if it was lower in half and an additional six ft added it could be secure, in any other case it was solely ok for scrap.


“So we spent about one other half one million on that to have it mounted however we the repayments have been between €12,000 and €14,000 a month at this stage.

“It was repossessed consequently and ended up being offered to a fisherman in Cork for a tune.

“But it surely has been a residing nightmare. We have now a life sentence as a result of we owe about €2 million to the banks and can by no means be capable of pay it again.

“I’ve no pension, no financial savings, nothing. And can have this hanging over my head perpetually and all for doing the proper factor.”

CJ continued that he can’t go to any court docket together with his plight as a result of all of them declare to don’t have any jurisdiction within the matter.

However he’s been informed by the EU that they might don’t have any drawback with him being compensated from the EU Fisheries Fund however this could solely be distributed by the Division of Agriculture who’ve ignored CJ’s state of affairs.

He added: “The courts in Germany, Eire and Holland have all stated they don’t have jurisdiction within the matter so it’s the one boat on this planet not coated below any jurisdiction.


“The EU courts have additionally stated there’s nothing they will do however don’t have any drawback with being compensated out of the EU Fisheries Fund, which is EU cash and never Irish taxpayer cash however the Authorities don’t need to know.

“This is occurring 13 years now and can by no means finish. I’ve misplaced my livelihood over it in addition to any hope of getting a future and there’s nobody round who can hearken to me and assist me.”

In a current radio interview Agriculture Charlie McConalogue described the Gaffney’s buy of the Mary Kate WD30 as “a failed industrial transaction”.
CJ stated he discovered the comment “insulting”.

He stated: “It made me out to be some form of eejit. I’m not an eejit and knew precisely what I used to be doing. It’s due to another person that I’m on this state of affairs.

“I discovered it insulting and I would like him to elucidate to me what he meant. I’ve misplaced all the things over this.”


Responding to CJ Gaffney, the Division of Agriculture stated: “Minister McConalogue is conscious of the very unlucky state of affairs Mr Gaffney finds himself in as a result of his buy of an unstable fishing vessel within the Netherlands in 2007.

“The state of affairs that arose pertains to a personal industrial transaction between two contracting events to buy a vessel. The duty for making certain the authenticity of the main points, specs and stability of the vessel being bought rested with the purchaser.

“The core problem right here pertains to the protection and security certification of the vessel bought by Mr Gaffney.  The security of fishing vessels and security certification, together with issues regarding stability, is the duty of the Division of Transport.

“The Division of Agriculture, Meals and the Marine has no perform in relation to the protection certification of Fishing vessels or issues arising in relation to their stability. 

“When the matter was raised with Minister McConalogue by Mr Gaffney at a digital Townhall Assembly  the Minister agreed to have a one to at least one phone dialog with Mr Gaffney within the context of the Ministers legislative remit. This phone dialog passed off on Friday 16th July.


“Relating to EU funds, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme is the principal supply of improvement funding for our seafood sector. 

“The Programme is applied below the provisions of the EMFF Regulation (508/2014) which specifies to what functions funds might be granted.  There isn’t any specific provision of the EMFF Regulation that might facilitate an ex-gratia cost to compensate a fishing vessel proprietor as a consequence of a flaw in his fishing vessel.

“Moreover, it’s not potential to supply a grant for the decommissioning of the vessel involved, as below the phrases of the EMFF Regulation, decommissioning is just not permitted after 31 December 2018.

“The brand new EU Regulation establishing a European Maritime, Fisheries & Aquaculture Fund for the 2021-27 interval entered into pressure on seventh July 2021 and whereas the Regulation permits decommissioning sooner or later, it might solely be applied for very particular functions involved with addressing an recognized imbalance in a specific fleet phase and just for energetic fishing vessels.”

Extra info on CJ Gaffney might be discovered at, which features a hyperlink to a petition the place folks can present their assist.

CJ and his family have been plunged into a never-ending a nightmare with a worthless ship


CJ and his household have been plunged right into a endless a nightmare with a nugatory ship
The vessel after repair work had been carried out


The vessel after restore work had been carried out
Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue


Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogueCredit score: Alamy I am dealing with a ‘life sentence’ of debt price €2m as a result of I used to be offered a ‘faulty’ trawler, ex-fisherman says

Fry Electronics Team

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