Redeveloped Connemara port ‘has capacity to become offshore wind hub’

Government allocated €25m last year to develop deep-water quay facility at Ros an Mhíl

The redevelopment of a fishing port in the heart of the Connemara Gaeltacht could facilitate the creation of an offshore wind energy hub on the site with the potential to create 900 jobs in the local area, a new report from an engineering and project management consultancy has found.

Last year, the Government allocated €25 million to the development of a deepwater quay facility at Ros an Mhíl to bring the State-owned fishery harbour up to par with hubs such as Killybegs, Co Donegal, and Castletownbere, Co Cork.

Construction work, which will add 200m of quayside and deepen the quay’s depth by 70 per cent, began in January. It is hoped that the upgrades will attract larger fishing vessels to the hub, increasing the harbour’s throughput.

Commissioned by Údarás na Gaeltachta, a new “master plan” for Ros an Mhíl has highlighted the potential for the port to become a significant offshore wind energy hub.


In the course of their investigation, engineering consultants Atkins Ireland found that the first phase of the plan – increasing the berth depth from 10m to 12m and adding extra cargo capacity – could be completed for an additional €5 million and would act as a launch pad for further works.

What's in the new cost of living package? / Scams target Revolut users

Listen | 44:47
The government's latest package of cost of living measures includes extra cash payments to social welfare recipients and parents - but no further contributions to our energy bill payments. Does the package go far enough? And by extending - again - a more favourable VAT rate for the hospitality sector, the Government is foregoing tax revenues of €300 million. Why does the return of the rate keep getting pushed back? Ciarán talks to political reporter Jack Horgan-Jones and columnist Cliff Taylor. Plus: We're by now sadly familiar with finance scams using texts, emails and bogus websites to defraud people. The latest method takes advantage of the growing use of digital banking services like Revolut. Consumer affairs correspondent Conor Pope explains what to watch out for.

Planning permission is already in place for this work, the report stated, although additional dredging and redesign of the quay wall would be required. However, this additional work would also complement the expanded fishing facilities currently being developed.

Phase two of the project would be focused on “delivering extended deepwater berthing, quay facilities and ancillary services to support the offshore wind and the fishing sectors”, according to the report.

The capital cost of this phase is “subject to detailed design”, it said, but the total capital cost is expected to be “in the order” of €70 million, which is estimated to be the gross value added annually to the local area. Atkins also estimated that the project could add 900 jobs in the area and assist it in meeting its Climate Action targets.

Crucially, the report argues that Ros an Mhíl is “strategically located” at the centre of the west coast where the Government hopes to develop 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2040. A number of projects are already in the works around the area, including large-scale projects in the Shannon Estuary, spearheaded by the Shannon Foynes Port Company.

The Ros an Mhíl redevelopment could complement those additions given the “widespread acknowledgment of the urgent need for port capacity”, said Údarás na Gaeltachta chief executive Tomás Ó Síocháin in a statement.

“This report demonstrates that Ros an Mhíl can play a key role in providing that capacity,” he said. “It is important however, that action is taken without delay, as the rapid rate of offshore wind demand coupled with a long lead time of port upgrades means there is a risk of undersupply of suitable regional port capacity.”

The Government is aiming to develop 5GW of renewable energy from mainly fixed offshore turbines by 2030, but to scale up floating offshore wind along the western seaboard thereafter.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times