A €35m scheme to rejuvenate local authority public piers and harbours has been announced by the Irish government.

The scheme will initially focus on ‘shovel-ready’ projects which aim to give immediate construction stimulus to coastal communities.

Ireland’s minister for agriculture, food and the marine Charlie McConalogue said: “This record funding for our coastal communities is an unprecedented opportunity for us to invest in our publicly owned piers and harbours and will shape the future of our coastal communities.

“Brexit has and will continue to affect our seafood sector in a unique way compared to other industries. I am delighted to be able to offer this level of investment so that we can deliver safe, accessible, lasting infrastructure and support economic diversification right around our coastline.”

The scheme is proposed for funding under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) and was one of the recommendations of the Seafood Sector Taskforce.

The taskforce was set up in March 2021, following the Trade and Co-operation Agreement between the EU and the UK, to look at the impact of Brexit on the fishing industry and coastal communities.

In its report, published in October last year, the taskforce noted that many coastal structures considered to be ‘important landmarks and facilities to the local communities’ had ‘declined in structural integrity and effective use over the years’.

“So much of the outcome of Brexit has been bad news for local coastal communities. Now we have this opportunity to support economic growth and mitigate the negative impacts for these communities. Ireland has fought hard for a fair BAR allocation; now we must put it to good use,” said the minister.

For 2022 and 2023, the scheme will initially target projects with a budget of up to €1m. The possibility of funding larger projects exists where there is particular exposure to Brexit, owing to proximity to UK waters and the loss of fishing opportunities.

The scheme will be administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, working closely with local coastal authorities.

Projects will be delivered by the local authority which owns and maintains the relevant marine infrastructure.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more on this, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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