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Minister McConalogue announces €35m infrastructure fund to support coastal communities

The Government has announced a €35m scheme to rejuvenate local authority public piers and harbours.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue said the scheme is proposed for funding under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund, and was one of the recommendations of the seafood sector taskforce that was established by the minister following Brexit.

Charlie McConalogue T.D

Announcing the scheme, the Minister 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.”

KIllybegs, one of Donegal's coast communities

In the wake of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) agreed in December 2020 between the EU and the UK, Mr McConalogue set up the seafood taskforce in March 2021 to look at the impacts specifically on the fishing sector and coastal communities. The tasforce noticed that many coastal structures, which are both important landmarks and facilities to the local communities, have declined in structural integrity and effective use over the years. As one of its recommendations, the Seafood Taskforce recommended that the BAR be used to fund rejuvenation of Ireland’s publicly owned coastal and marine infrastructure specifically to address the economic consequences of Brexit arising from the implications to the Irish fishing industry.

The scheme will cover up to 85 percent of a project’s cost and the investment is intended to help to drive economic diversification and will complement other measures such as Community Led Local Development via the Fisheries Local Action Groups. The investment scheme focuses on ‘shovel-ready’ projects to give immediate construction stimulus to the coastal communities affected by the TCA and is targeted to attract such projects of up to €1m budget during 2022 and 2023. It is hoped a number of Donegal projects and coastal communities can benefit from the fund.

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