#dunmoreeast – The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced details of a €4m dredging project at Dunmore East Fishery Harbour Centre on the occasion of the official opening of a €450,000 renovation of the Marine Leisure Area at the western end of the harbour.
At the opening, the Minister said "I am delighted to officially open this. The completion of this project adds greatly to the Harbour for marine activities generally. This end of the Harbour was in need of revamping for some time, and I prioritised works to make it a fit for purpose amenity which will benefit and promote the marine leisure industry in this area".
Leisure activity in Dunmore East has been increasing substantially in recent years with 180 visiting yachts from all over Ireland and abroad using the harbour in 2013, more than a threefold increase on previous years. Cruise line passengers nearly doubled in 2013 to 9,500 and with the newly renovated slipway it is expected that usage by members of the public will double in 2014 from around 600 in 2013.
The €450,000 renovation included extending the existing slipway, widening it from five to twelve metres, resurfacing and generally improving vehicle and pedestrian access, the development of a promenade with street lighting, improved access to the beach, and a rock armour embankment to protect the development from severe weather conditions.
Commenting on the works the Minister said "This is an excellent piece of infrastructure and is now a top class amenity which will lend itself to the further development of the leisure industry in Dunmore East, and the spin off that will have for tourism and jobs locally".
Announcing the €4m dredging project for Dunmore East to resolve the impacts of years of siltation in the harbour, which has restricted vessel traffic and made manoeuvrability and fish landings problematic for fishermen the Minister said "This significant investment in Dunmore East from the 2014 Fishery Harbour Capital Programme is an indication of this Government's commitment to the fishing industry in the South East. When complete, not only will the harbour be more accessible to larger vessels, landing times and management will be much improved as will the usability of the syncrolift".
Latest figures indicate that the value and volume of fish landings in Dunmore East has been on the increase for a number of years. Between 2010 and 2013 landings increased by 40% from 8,387 tonnes to an estimated 11,718 tonnes. The equivalent value of these landings went from €13.7m in 2010 to an estimated €17.5m in 2013 an increase of 28%.
The Minister went on to say "Taking account of the increased level of fish landings I am conscious of the need to dovetail the much needed dredging works with the seasonal work patterns of the fishing industry to cause as little disruption as possible. With that in mind every effort will be made to ensure that the works will be completed in advance of the important herring fishery later in the year".
Groundwork for the project is well advanced; a public procurement exercise will be initiated in May, with a view to awarding the contract in time for an August commencement date.
Concluding the Minister said "The development and upkeep of Dunmore East as a state of the art Fishery Harbour Centre, supporting a broad range of marine related activities is and will remain an ongoing process. These two major projects and the recent installation of floating pontoons within the Harbour are part of a long term strategy to deliver on the potential of Dunmore East for job creation for the fishing industry and as a marine leisure and tourist destination".