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€38.3 million in funding for Capital projects at Ireland’s six Fishery Harbour Centres including an enhanced scheme for 79 Local Authority harbours

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, has announced details of a €38.3m Capital Investment Package for the ongoing development of Ireland’s publicly owned harbour network including 79 Local Authority Harbours across 12 coastal Local Authorities. In announcing the 2021 programme, the Minister said, “I am delighted to announce this €38.3 million capital investment package in our six Fishery Harbour Centres and 79 Local Authority owned piers and harbours around our coast which underlines the importance this Government places on the contribution of the wider Seafood sector to Ireland’s economy and to rural coastal communities in particular.”

The Local Authority programme which forms part of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marines’ 2021 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, whereby the Department co-funds up to 75% of the total cost of approved projects with the Local Authority providing the balance (see table 1 below).

In regard to the Local Authority scheme, the Minister stated, “It was important to me to place added importance on the Local Authority scheme this year and I am pleased to be to in a position to announce an enhanced €4.2 million programme in 2021 to assist Coastal Local Authorities in the repair and development of fishery and aquaculture linked marine infrastructures under their ownership. This year I have redirected savings due to Covid limitations on other projects to increase the monies available to the Local Authorities resulting in a 35% increase in 2020 allocations. Together with funding from Local Authorities, the total amount to be invested in local piers and harbours in 2021 under this scheme comes to €5.6 million.”

Minister McConologue went on to say, “The €4.2 million package I am making available this year provides funding for a diverse suite of 79 projects geographically spread across 12 Local Authorities which will improve the amenities provided to the wider Marine community in these coastal areas. It will provide a much needed economic boost to rural coastal communities particularly in these trying times and also make them more attractive to tourists in the longer term. During the pandemic, we have become more aware than ever of the importance of our outdoor spaces and local amenities. The continued upgrading and refurbishment of our local piers and harbours will support local fishers, tourism and will have numerous knock-on benefits for local economies. This again demonstrates our Government’s commitment to rural Ireland.”

Overall, the annual Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme provides funding for safety, maintenance and new development works at the six Fishery Harbour Centres at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Ros An Mhíl and Killybegs (see Table 2 below). The primary function of the Fishery Harbour Centres is to underpin the ongoing development of the fisheries and seafood processing sectors, while also facilitating other diverse marine related activities.

The Minister said, “Critically, this year’s funding for the Fishery Harbour Centres provides for the completion of three strategically important projects in Castletownbere, Killybegs and Howth, delivering an additional 460 metres of berthing space in the respective harbours. These projects have experienced delays as a result of the necessary Covid restrictions. This is in accordance with Action 65 of my Department’s 2021 Action Plan. Additionally, a number of new projects are commencing across the six Fishery Harbour Centres continuing the improvements being made in facilities available to fishermen and other harbour users."

The Minister concluded by saying “All told, €140 million has been invested in the Fishery Harbour Centres between 2010 and 2020, with a further €31 million invested in Local Authority owned marine infrastructure over the same period. This years €38.3 million investment in 2021 will create short term employment in some of the most rural coastal communities during the works, as well as reinforcing the strategies for diversification and to develop an environment for long term, sustainable economic opportunities around our coast.”