Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Minister Addresses Family Complaint to Ombudsman Regarding the Lost at Sea Scheme

30th April 2018
Marine Minister Michael Creed Marine Minister Michael Creed

Marine Minister Michael Creed announced today that he has taken steps to address a complaint made by the Byrne family regarding the application made by Ms Winifred Byrne to the Lost as Sea Scheme in 2003.

Minister Creed said: “I have decided to exercise my discretion in this matter to implement the Ombudsman's recommendation to make a payment strictly on an ex-gratia basis to Ms Winifred Byrne. This decision is expressly to satisfy the Ombudsman’s recommendation concerning Ms Byrne’s application to the Lost at Sea Scheme.” 

The recommendation made by the Ombudsman arose from a complaint taken by Ms Byrne’s son Daniel Byrne regarding the refusal of his mother’s application to the Lost at Sea Scheme in respect of the MFV Skijford. The Ombudsman recommended that a payment of €245,570 be made in the case.

Acknowledging the difficult circumstances in which the application and complaint arose, Minister Creed said “The Byrne family have my sincere sympathy and that of my officials for the heart-rending loss of life they suffered in the original tragic incident at sea.”

The current Fishing Boat Register was introduced in 1990 and at that time the capacity of all fishing vessels was recorded as part of the registration process. EU fleet management rules introduced a cap on the size of Member State fleets, including Ireland, by setting a ceiling on the total capacity of the fleet in gross tonnes and kilowatt units. The management of EU fishing fleets using vessel capacity in terms of Gross Tonnage and Engine power (kilowatts) is a cornerstone of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The Lost at Sea Scheme was a limited scheme which was open for 6 months from June 2001 to December 2001. The scheme gave an opportunity for applicants, who had lost a vessel at sea prior to the introduction of the Fishing Boat Register, to be considered for an award of capacity (not financial aid) equivalent to the lost vessel so that a new vessel could be registered and licensed as a sea-fishing boat.

In all, the Ombudsman received six complaints from persons claiming that they were unfairly denied benefit under the Scheme. Five were not upheld, the sixth, which came from the Byrne family, was upheld. Recommendations by the Ombudsman are not legally binding.

Published in Fishing Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Webcams

webcam sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating