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Minister Coughlan Announces Funding Of €10 Million For Wharf Works At Dinish Island And Funding Of €1 Million For RNLI Lifeboat Shore Facility In Castletownbere

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mary Coughlan T.D., today visited Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre, Co Cork to view works ongoing on the €40 million Harbour Development Project there. At the harbour, Minister Coughlan announced that she was approving the allocation of €10 million for the main project for 2008 which involves the construction of an extension to the existing wharf at Dinish Island. The Castletownbere project is the single most significant project being undertaken at present under the Department's Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Programme. The development of the harbour will allow for increased draught for vessels thereby accommodating all of the new modern vessels which have entered the Castletownbere fleet.

"The Castletownbere Development Project is a crucial part of the Department's investment in fishing infrastructure around the coast. This development is further evidence of the Government's commitment to a dynamic future for the fishing industry and I am delighted to have this opportunity to view the works and see the significant progress that has been made," she said.

The overall project at Castletownbere involves dredging, construction of an extension to the existing wharf at Dinish Island, as well as replacing the existing structure, and the provision of a suitable harbour services building. The dredging works which have been completed provided for a deepened and widened entrance channel allowing for a total berthage length of 210 metres alongside the new quay when constructed. The approach channel to the harbour has also been cleared providing increased width and depth.

The project commenced in 2004 with approximately €13 million being spent over the 2004-2006 period. €12 million has been allocated to the project this year.

The Minister also announced grant-aid of €1 million for the provision of a lifeboat shore facility for the RNLI which is due to be constructed on reclaimed foreshore within Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre.

"The decision to grant-aid the provision of enhanced facilities for the RNLI was taken following full evaluation and in close consultation with the RNLI. The project will provide a shore side berth on pontoons for the Severn class lifeboat currently based at Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre. The vessel will remain afloat on all stages of the tide and enable faster emergency response times. The RNLI propose to construct a building on the site to provide modern crew facilities for their members. The presence of the RNLI in the harbour greatly adds to maritime safety. They provide a rapid response to individuals who get into difficulty while in the water", Minister Coughlan stated.

"I would like to pay tribute to lifeboat men and women who are largely volunteers for their generosity in giving their time to carry out sea rescues. I am delighted to have this opportunity of giving the RNLI a helping hand, particularly as the enhanced facilities will make the harbour and surrounding waters a safer place to work or enjoy for all marine enthusiasts," concluded Minister Coughlan.

19 October 2007

Date Released: 19 October 2007