Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has welcomed the allocation of €250,243 in funding for 17 local fishery projects in Cork, provided under the Fisheries Local Area Action Group (Flag) scheme.
It is part of a total of a total investment of €3.6 million under the innovative Flag strategy for Ireland’s seven coastal regions, announced last Thursday, 8th, by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD, in Ballycotton.
Flag is a strategy focusing on coastal community rejuvenation for seven designated Irish regions, and will contribute to the Action Plan for Rural Development.
These grant awards contribute to the Action Plan for Rural Development and this funding is part of a targeted national investment, totalling €3.6 million, which aims to renew practices and skills in the fishing, aquaculture and maritime-related sectors.
The Flag scheme is co-funded by the Exchequer and the EU under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme 2014-20. Over the duration of the EMFF programme, the Flag scheme will deliver €12 million in funding to Ireland’s coastal communities.
Speaking at the event to announce the Flag grant offers, Minister Creed commented: ‘It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our volunteer FLAG Board members in each of our seven Flag regions that this year’s programme has delivered so many projects that will enhance the economic and social wellbeing of our coastal communities.’
BIM’s chief executive Jim O’Toole said that ‘BIM has worked closely with all of the Flag boards around the coast this year as they developed and implemented their own local strategies. Seafood and its wider role in the community is at the core of this innovative programme and it is the diverse nature of the projects funded under the scheme that illustrates the true value of the seafood industry to our coastal communities and also the potential for further growth in the years ahead.
Chairman of the board of South Flag, Finnian O’Sullivan, said: ‘We are delighted to be able to announce that South Flag has approved funding for 17 projects ranging from marine tourism, seafood development and production, community-led initiatives and supports for small-scale coastal fishermen. Of the 17 projects approved today, €250,000 in grant aid has been awarded with an overall value to the economy of the South FLAG area of over €500,000.’
Senator Lombard said: ‘As a member of the joint Oireachtas Agriculture, Food and the Marine Committee, I am delighted to see such investment in Cork; it illustrates the true value of the seafood industry to our coastal communities as well as our potential for development and growth.
‘It is testament to the hard work and dedication of our volunteer Flag Board members here in Cork, and in each of the other Flag regions, that this year’s programme has delivered so many innovative projects.
‘Some of our local projects include seafood business Fish Seafood Deli, who are expanding their business in Carbery Business Park to increase production of their new seafood product range; Atlantic Sea Kayaking, who are developing a marine leisure base and Blueway hub, and the Seafood and Shanty Festival in Ballycotton.
‘These projects and the allocated funding will help enhance the economic and social wellbeing of our coastal communities here in Cork,’ said Senator Lombard. ‘The contribution it will have to community development, job creation and skills enhancement across the fishing, aquaculture and maritime industries is a positive step forward in our rural rejuvenation.’