€38m fund will help build marinas in west


The Border, Midland and Western (BMW) region is expected to benefit most from a €38 million fund to develop marine tourism under the National Development Plan.

The focus of the programme will be development of yacht marinas and it is expected that marinas will be built in Galway, Westport, Ballina and Donegal. A call for projects eligible for the marine leisure grant scheme has been made by the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources.

The initiative aims to favour the BMW region, as it holds Objective 1 status under EU criteria .

A strategy has been drawn up by the Marine Institute, and details of the programme are expected to be announced by the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources, Mr Fahey, later this month. The institute's report has identified areas with potential for development, but stresses that all of these will require detailed assessments before making submissions for approval.

Currently, there is no marina north of Kilrush in Co Clare, and Coleraine, the island's oldest marina, is the next substantial pontoon base. The east and south coasts are fairly well developed, the largest being the State-funded marina at Dún Laoghaire.