Brexit funds of €35m to be directed to coastal communities to improve piers and harbours

Establishment of the fund was one of the recommendations of a seafood sector taskforce established after Brexit

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue. Photograph: Tom Honan

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

European Brexit funds worth €35 million are to be directed to port and coastal communities to improve publicly-owned piers and harbours.

The fund, which will be administered by the Department of Agriculture, will be paid out of the EU’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund. It will be targeted at rejuvenating public piers and harbours in coastal communities, the department said .

The establishment of the fund was one of the recommendations of a seafood sector taskforce established after Brexit by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue. The taskforce had proposed a fund of €80 million across five years for the development of publicly-owned marine infrastructure.

It was set up to fund works to pieces of coastal infrastructure that have been damaged or declined in structural integrity or have been underused in recent years.

Projects needing funding of up to €1 million will be asked to submit “shovel- ready” plans during this year and next, although larger projects will be considered where there is particular exposure to Brexit due to proximity to UK waters and loss of fishing opportunities.

Local authorities are to be charged with delivering the projects as they own and maintain the relevant marine infrastructure. “So much of the outcome of Brexit has been bad news for local coastal communities,” Mr McConalogue said. “Now we have this opportunity to support economic growth and mitigate the negative impacts for these communities.”

The BAR fund was set up as a special one-off emergency instrument to counter the adverse economic, social and territorial consequences of Brexit. Ireland is the biggest beneficiary of the fund, and was the first EU member state to receive its pre-financing.