A TOTAL of €12m is available to Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) under Ireland’s Operational Programme for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
Last week, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD met representatives of the seven new FLAGs at the National Seafood Centre in Clonakilty. Each of them will receive technical support to prepare a Local Development Strategy, in consultation with local communities, setting out the FLAG priorities for development and support in their area.
Minister Creed said: ‘I am pleased to announce the commencement of this community-led local development process. Job creation and rural development are key priorities for this government.
He added: ‘The success of the FLAGs under the previous programme shows that fisheries and aquaculture communities can identify priorities to target investment best suited to their area’s needs and I am enthusiastic about the opportunities which will emerge from these seven new FLAGs .’
Clonakilty native Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), commented that: ‘Over the period 2012-2015, more than 180 projects were awarded grants of just under €1m. This initial funding has supported a wide range of initiatives targeting job creation, social inclusion, tourism, community regeneration and market development around our coastline.
‘This first phase of the FLAGS initiative has already resulted in 14 new businesses being created, 16 jobs being safeguarded and 27 new jobs being created’.
BIM is the implementation partner working directly with the FLAG groups to assist them to establish and develop their own local Development Strategies. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine oversees the programme and EMFF-Exchequer funding aspects.
• For more information on the FLAG Scheme, visit www.bim.ie/schemes/fisherieslocalareadevelopmentschemeflag