THE Irish government is investing more than €23 million to upgrade one if its main fishing ports in the south west of the country.
Michael Creed, the minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has signed a contract which will see a 216m-long quayside development and new port buildings on Dinish Island, Castletownbere, in County Cork.
The investment will double the workable quay space and enable significant expansion in fish landings, onshore processing and general marine activity at this major southern Irish port.
The minister said: ‘It is government policy to substantially increase the landings into Ireland from all vessels that fish in the waters around the country.
‘We want to see Ireland become the hub for all the marine activities that can be generated by the sustainable harvesting of these renewable resources in our marine sphere.
‘Developing our fishery harbour centres, such as Castletownbere, to facilitate our industry and be able to attract and handle these landings is a key step in achieving our ambitions in this area, in line with the government’s integrated marine development strategy, ‘Harnessing our Ocean Wealth’.’
The minister also said the Irish fishing industry faced ongoing challenges, not least from Brexit, and he hoped the new port would eventually attract fishing vessels from other EU countries that wanted to operate out of Ireland.
Following an earlier investment in 2010, landings into the port have increased by 60 per cent to almost 100 million euros.
And there has been a big increase in the number of EU vessels using its facilities.
Picture: Ireland’s fisheries minister Michael Creed