A group of large harbours across the State is not being used adequately to promote and develop fishing and seafood, the Dáil Public Accounts Committee has said.
The committee, which investigated six fishery harbour centres across the country, said many buildings in them were not being utilised fully to help promote enterprise.
The six centres were in Killybegs, Co Donegal; Dunmore East, Co Waterford; Howth, Co Dublin; Dingle, Co Kerry; Castletownbere, Co Cork; and Rossaveal, Co Galway.
The committee said job creation opportunities at the harbours, in areas such as manufacturing and food processing, were being lost because of a failure to “promote fishing and non-fishing activities”.
Fine Gael Waterford TD John Deasy, a member of the committee, has pushed for Enterprise Ireland to assess each of the harbours and examine whether State support could be provided to help to develop them. He said he had secured agreement from Enterprise Ireland that it would meet the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the issue.
“This is about manufacturing seafood, shellfish. There are 213 buildings in State ownership within these ports. Some of them are used right now but the ones that are underutilised or vacant, Enterprise Ireland should have a role in assessing whether or not they can play a part in marketing and promoting the businesses that might be suitable for sites,” he said.
He said he had met Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and Julie Sinnamon, the Enterprise Ireland chief executive.
“I put it to Enterprise Ireland and Julie Sinnamon that they had a role in the future of these buildings and State ports and a meeting has been agreed with the department,” he said.