Ireland allocates EUR 38 million to fisheries, aquaculture infrastructure improvements
Details of a EUR 38.3 million (USD 45.6 million) capital investment package for the ongoing development of Ireland’s publicly-owned harbor network, including 79 local-authority harbors, have been announced by Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine Charlie McConalogue.
Ireland’s Fishery Harbor and Coastal Infrastructure Development Program will fund safety, maintenance, and new development works at the six Fishery Harbor Centers at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Ros An Mhíl, and Killybegs. McConalogue said the funds recognize the contribution of the wider seafood sector to Ireland’s economy and to rural coastal communities in particular, in offering a 35 percent increase in funding for local-authority harbors.
The primary function of these centers is to underpin the development of the fisheries and seafood processing sectors, while also facilitating other marine related activities, McConalogue said.
“Critically, this year’s funding for the fishery harbor centers provides for the completion of three strategically important projects in Castletownbere, Killybegs, and Howth, delivering an additional 460 meters of berthing space in the respective harbors. These projects have experienced delays as a result of the necessary COVID restrictions,” McConalogue said.
Additionally, a number of new projects are commencing across the six fishery harbor centers to continue the improvements being made in facilities available to fishermen and other harbor users, he said.
All told, EUR 140 million (USD 168.1 million) has been invested in the fishery harbor centers between 2010 and 2020, with a further EUR 31 million (USD 37.2 million) invested in local authority-owned marine infrastructure over the same period.
“This year’s EUR 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,” McConalogue said.
The local authority program sees the department co-fund up to 75 percent of the total cost of approved projects, with the local authority providing the balance.
With regard to this scheme, the minister said he was pleased to offer an enhanced EUR 4.2 million (USD 5 million) package 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 percent increase in 2020 allocations,” McConalogue said. “Together with funding from local authorities, the total amount to be invested in local piers and harbors in 2021 under this scheme comes to EUR 5.6 million [USD 6.7 million].”
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