BIM, Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency and the South East Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) have launched a local development strategy that will deliver €1.68 million to the region.
The South East FLAG is one of 7 FLAG groups that are participating in the Fisheries Local Area Group scheme which is co-funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and is administered by BIM. The National Programme will deliver €12 million in funding to coastal communities by 2020 towards projects that promote and support innovation by adding value to seafood products and diversifying the local economies in these coastal areas towards new economic activities, particularly in the broader maritime sector.
Mr. Liam Griffin, Chairman of the South East Action Plan for Jobs Tourism Group, opened the event at Hook Lighthouse, Co. Wexford, “This strategy is a great opportunity for the South East region. The members of the South East FLAG chaired by Noel McDonagh are all capable and dedicated leaders in the marine, tourism and business sectors and the tailored strategy they have produced is built on consultation and input from stakeholders within the coastal communities of counties Wicklow, Wexford and Waterford. I am delighted to have been invited here today to launch this programme and I would encourage local interests to take advantage of the funding available.”
The South East FLAG Strategy covers the coastal zones of Counties Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow. It notes that 1,233 people are employed in the marine/seafood sector in the region. The main fishing ports/harbours are Wicklow, Arklow, Wexford town, Rosslare harbour, Kilmore Quay, Dunmore East and Helvick. Both Dunmore East and Kilmore Quay are listed in the top five ports in Ireland with overall fish landings of 10,978 tonnes.
Michael Keatinge, Interim CEO, BIM outlined how important this programme is to the region “‘The FLAG programme is designed to empower coastal communities to develop their own strategies that will leverage and maximise the marine opportunities in the area. Over the period of the last FLAG programme from 2012-2015, more than 180 projects were awarded grants of just under €1m towards a wide range of initiatives targeting job creation, social inclusion, tourism, regeneration and market development supported around the coastline. The South East region has a strong maritime industry and heritage and this new strategy will provide a funding mechanism to develop this industry and associated community projects.”
The deadline to apply for funding to the South East FLAG is 5.00pm 15th March; contact John Hickey, South East FLAG Facilitator on 053 9129632 for further information.