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Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D has launched Ireland's National Seafood Development Programme under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund 2012-2027 (EMFAF).

The programme, which had multiple stakeholder consultations and environmental assessments, secured funding of €258.4 million for the new programme, an increase in funding over the previous EMFF Programme 2014-2020.

The new programme builds on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) Schemes and provides for additional, longer-term supports to enable the seafood sector to engage in transformational change and for coastal communities to thrive.

The Programme envisages support for capital investment both on board and ashore, relating to landing obligations, innovation in fishing gear and methods, technical advice to the fleet, acquisition of the first vessel by young fishers, support to the inshore fleet, training and marketing.

The Minister explored the details of the Programme and met with the EMFAF Monitoring Committee members to discuss the strategic objectives of the EMFAF fund.

The launch took place at the annual Skipper Expo in Limerick in the presence of the EMFAF Monitoring Committee.

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An Oireachtas committee is to hear the case of the Arklow fisherman who discovered serious stability issues with a Dutch-built trawler and was left with debts of 1 million euro.

The Joint Committee on Public Petitions and the Ombudsmen meets today (Thurs 22) to discuss the experience of CJ Gaffney, owner of the former vessel Mary Kate.

The issue is listed as Public Petition Number P00012/23 on “Justice and Safety”, and will hear from Gaffney as petitioner.

It will also hear from Mary Bertelsen, campaigner and concerned citizen on people’s rights; Jakob Pinkster, stability and ship building expert; and Justin Delaney, stability expert.

Committee cathaoirleach and Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne said the petition relates to Gaffney’s “long campaign for compensation following his purchase in 2007 of a Dutch-built, German-registered trawler, which was then registered in Ireland and later found to be unstable and unsafe”,

“The committee welcomes Mr Gaffney and his supporting witnesses and looks forward to discussing his case, which has clearly had a considerable impact on him, his family and his business,”Browne said.

As Afloat has previously reported, Gaffney tried to take legal action in both the Netherlands and Germany after he discovered the stability issues, took out a loan to cover fixing the vessel and then had to surrender it to the bank in 2012.

He sought EU funds in compensation, but the EU said it was up to the national state. The vessel was broken up in New Ross, Co Wexford last year under the Government’s decommissioning scheme.

Gaffney maintains that questions need to be asked at both national level and EU level as to how the beam trawler was issued with a stamped stability book from a renowned international classification society.

He says questions should be asked as to how a valid ship sailing permit was issued when it had 20 tonnes of unaccounted steel present since new build, and how the case was handled after various authorities had been notified of this.

The Oireachtas committee will also discuss a number of other petitions from members of the public.

The Joint Committee on Public Petitions and the Ombudsmen is a standing committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas and has 11 members, seven from the Dáil and four from the Seanad.

It will meet on Thursday February 22nd at 1.30pm in Committee Room 1 of Leinster House.

The meeting in the Committee Room 1 can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV.

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

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Inshore fishermen are due to state their case about the crisis experienced by their members to TDs and senators later this month (Feb).

Members of the Dáil and Seanad have been invited to hear the delegation from the National Inshore Fishermen’s Association (NIFA) speaking to the chamber via the audio-visual room on February 28th.

NIFA spokesman Michael Desmond said that members have already outlined the serious difficulties in the sector in a presentation to an Oireachtas joint committee last month.

The Government’s failure to implement a national inshore fishing strategy drawn up by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has been disastrous for the sector, the 14 members of Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, food and Marine were told.

NIFA outlined how shellfish markets have collapsed, margins have tightened, there are new restrictions on catching pollack, and many boats have had no earnings for the past two months.

The NIFA delegation was led by Michael Desmond, accompanied by board members John Menarry and Eamon Dixon.

Their presentation at a full parliamentary hearing comes just several weeks after a new public consultation on a proposed six-mile ban by Irish marine minister Charlie McConalogue was opened.

It is the second such public consultation on the issue- a previous transition to a ban on trawling inside six nautical miles for vessels over 18 metres was overturned by a legal challenge.

NIFA represents over 200 Irish inshore vessels, with 150 members extending from Donegal to Cork and Kerry.

The association was recognised as an EU seafood producer organisation in January 2023.

Published in Fishing

Ireland's six state-owned Fishery Harbour Centres are set to receive a boost from the government, with almost €29.7m allocated for capital projects in 2024. Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue T.D confirmed the news today, stating that these centres are crucial infrastructure for Ireland's seafood industry, with approximately 87% of all fish landings in Ireland passing through these facilities. 

The investment will be used to develop first-class landing infrastructure, where a modern seafood industry can operate effectively and efficiently, providing maximum opportunities for primary and secondary processing of seafood in Ireland. The funding will also help to provide a strong Irish seafood processing industry to service the fishing fleet and maintain coastal communities.

The Fishery Harbour Centres accommodate diverse marine commercial business, including commercial cargo traffic, cruise liners, restaurants and other leisure, tourism and social activities, which complement the critical economic activity generated by Ireland's fishing industry.

The Deep-water Quay project at Ros an Mhíl, which will receive €17m in 2024, continues to be a priority project and is scheduled for completion in the first half of 2025. Meanwhile, the Smooth Point pier extension at Killybegs will be concluded in the coming months with €3.25m being invested in 2024. At Castletownbere, maintenance of the Mainland Quay will receive €575k in 2024 and will be phased as a multi-annual project with further investment in subsequent years.

Killybegs Harbour in County Donegal Photo Clive WassonKillybegs Harbour in County Donegal Photo Clive Wasson

The government has invested heavily in the Department-managed facilities since 2020, with a combined investment of €116m, including €41.5m spent in 2023. Bord Iascaigh Mhara has valued the GDP of Ireland's seafood industry at €1.3 billion, highlighting the importance of primary and secondary food production activities.

Minister McConalogue noted that a key objective for the seafood sector is to continue on a path of sustainable economic and environmental development by carefully managing the utilization of sea-fisheries and aquaculture. The continued investment in the sector underpins the government's commitment to the industry, with the €29.7million being expended this year helping to progress major infrastructure delivery and underpin climate resilience and the further development of Ireland's Blue Economy.

In addition to infrastructure development, the government's commitment to supporting environmental and sustainability objectives is demonstrated through several important projects planned under this year's programme, including renewable energy upgrades on buildings and water metering to monitor resource consumption.

Fishery Harbour Centres and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2024

Fishery Harbour Centres and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme 2024

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The Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) has recommended that the Minister for Transport should consider introducing regulations specific to the installation and operation of articulated hydraulic deck cranes on fishing vessels.

The MCIB recommendation is one of a number issued in its report inquiring into a crush injury sustained by a crewman on board a fishing vessel off the Cork coast in November 2021.

Recommendations in relation to risk assessments, safety legislation, hazard warnings and training for use of articulated deck cranes are also published in the report.

The incident occurred on board the 21 metre-long fishing vessel Aquila which was fishing south of the Kinsale gas rigs on November 7th, 2021.

The vessel with five crew onboard had left the fishing port of Union Hall, Co Cork, the night before. Wind at the time was force three, westerly, with a moderate sea.

The wooden twin trawler was rigged for Danish seine net fishing

As the report states, “at approximately 12.00 hrs on the 7th November, the fishing vessel was at the fishing grounds and the crew were hauling the second haul of the day using the vessel’s net handling crane”.

It says that the crane’s hydraulic system “experienced a sudden loss of hydraulic oil pressure, causing the crane’s jib and power head to uncontrollably lower inboard trapping a crew member between the power head and the underside of the deck supporting the net drum”.

The crewman, who is from the Philippines and had been on the crew for two years, suffered crush injuries.

The vessel’s skipper contacted the Cork Coast Guard Radio (CGR) by VHF radio at 12.38 hrs, advising it of the incident and requesting a medical evacuation of the injured crewman.

It says that at approximately 15.00 hrs, the Irish Coast Guard helicopter R115 from Shannon airlifted the injured man ashore to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for medical attention.

The man was discharged from CUH on November 8th, and was passed fit to fly home. He returned to the Philippines to recover.

It says he recuperated, and has since returned to work as a fisher onboard an Irish registered fishing vessel.

More details are in the MCIB report here

Published in MCIB

Tributes have been paid to the late Professor Ray Bates, a leading Irish and international meteorologist who was from a well-known Co Wexford family involved in fishing and marine science.

Met Éireann has said he was a pioneer in several fields, and a “respected and influential voice in the scientific community”.

As The Sunday Independent reports, he had spearheaded new models for computer forecasting systems which won him an award from US space agency NASA.

A former assistant director at Met Éireann, who subsequently worked at NASA, Denmark’s Niels Bohr Institute and University College, Dublin (UCD), he latterly encountered opposition from scientists and climate activists over his challenge to the consensus view on the level of threat posed by climate change.

The eldest of eight, he was born in Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, 1940, to fishing skipper Willie Bates and Margaret Alice Walsh. His siblings became immersed in fishing, marine science and the offshore sectors, while he studied physics, after winning a gold medal from St Peter’s College in Wexford.

He graduated from UCD in 1962 with a first class honours, having worked with his father on lobster fishing and taking visitors to the Great Saltee island bird sanctuary during his summer breaks from college.

After a short period with the Irish Sugar Company, he worked as a forecaster at Shannon Airport with the Irish Meteorological Service --- now Met Éireann. He took a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which he was awarded in 1969.

His MIT supervisor was the renowned meteorologist, Jule G Charney, one of the first to use computer forecasting. Through is contact with Serbian-American and Canadian meteorologists Fedor Mesinger and André Robert, Bates helped to develop new forecasting models, including a technique called Lagrangian integration.

Met Éireann was the first weather service to make use of this method, now central to forecasting in many national weather services.

During the 1970s, Ray worked with the Egyptian Meteorological Institute, and the World Meteorological Organisation, and in 1987 he was appointed senior scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in the US.

In 1994, NASA conferred him with an award for his “leadership and pioneering work” with the semi-Lagrangian models of forecasting.

He and his wife Zaira moved to Denmark in 1995 where he became professor of meteorology at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen until his retirement in 2004. After Zaira died of cancer he returned to UCD as an adjunct professor of meteorology, and continued research there and with the Royal Irish Academy (RIA).

He chaired the RIA’s Climate Change Sciences Committee from 2009-2013, and was a member of the RIA’s Climate Change and Environmental Sciences Committee from 2014-18. He was awarded the Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2009.

He set up the Irish Meteorological Society, and served as its president from 2004 to 2008. He and his second wife, Natasha, spent more time in Wexford where he bought a sailing craft with his brother, Dick, he was a founder member of the Kilmore Quay Boat Club.

His colleague, Dr Peter Lynch of UCD’s school of mathematics and statistics, said at his funeral that Bates had published several important papers on the theory and modelling of the global climate and “everything he said or wrote was based on meticulous, unbiased analysis”.

His work on climate sensitivity and climate feedback proved controversial as he questioned the scientific rigour of one of the special reports released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) relating to global warming in 2018.

Writing in The Farmers’ Journal, Bates said the IPCC report ignored “important scientific evidence” gathered since 2013 “which reduces the sense of a looming emergency”, and said the Citizens’ Assembly had not received impartial scientific advice when it looked at how Ireland should respond to climate change.

He did not deny that the climate was changing, stating that “reasonable precautionary measures to reduce emissions should be taken on the basis of risk, but it does not require that we seriously damage our economy or bring our traditional way of life to an end in the process”.

Having helped to form the Irish Climate Science Forum, he subsequently withdrew from it .

Prof Lynch described Bates as a man of great integrity, and noted that while criticism of his views, “ not all of which was civil or scientifically justified”, caused him some distress, “it is beyond doubt that his work was of the highest scientific standard, and continues to merit serious consideration”.

Met Éireann said he was “a distinguished meteorologist and climate scientist and a pioneer in the fields of atmospheric dynamics and numerical weather prediction (NWP).

It said he “made significant contributions to the understanding of the dynamics and thermodynamics of the atmosphere and played a crucial role in developing NWP for operational weather forecasting”.

“He was a respected and influential voice in the scientific community, as well as a mentor and friend to many colleagues and students,” Met Éireann said, and it noted that “his rigour, commitment and passion were instrumental to advance weather and climate science and will always be remembered”.

Read The Sunday Independent here

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Irish fishing industry organisations have called on Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue and his officials to “come clean” on the exact nature of talks between the EU and Iceland on fisheries.

In a joint statement, the Irish Fish Producers’ Organisation (IFPO) and Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) say they are “extremely concerned” about what they describe as “secretive EU talks with Iceland”.

The Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation (IS&WFPO) has separately called on McConalogue to give a “public assurance” that the informal talks between the EU Commission and Iceland on access to Irish waters are “not up for discussion” at an EU council of fisheries ministers on Tuesday (Jan 23).

“There’s a genuine fear that the negotiations may be close to a deal granting Iceland valuable access to our rich waters - without our input or adequate consultation,” IFPO chief executive Aodh O’Donnell said.

“Why would the minister agree to give Iceland access to our waters when there is almost nothing in the deal for Ireland’s fishing industry,” he said.

“ This is a colossal and embarrassing failure of negotiating skills. The sector is already suffering from the loss of 26% of our mackerel quota to the UK in the disastrous Brexit deal. So, why not use access deals - like this one - to seek a rebalancing of Ireland’s quota to address these losses fully?” he said.

The IFPO said the minister is describing the EU-Iceland talks as “informal” but had “failed to confirm if agreement has been reached already”.

“The fishing industry struggles to understand Ireland’s weak negotiating stance at EU level. We need a government that fights for our industry in the national interest, the way other EU member states do,” O’Donnell said.

“The EU Common Fisheries Policy has failed Irish fishing communities and deals like this are simply adding insult to injury.”

“Iceland has been a main driver in unsustainable fisheries for mackerel and blue whiting in the North-east Atlantic. They have a record of fixing inflated quotas and building new vessels to expand their catches. At the same time, Ireland is forced to decommission our whitefish fleet and downsize because of reductions in our allowable catch,”he said.

“The Irish blue whiting quota is worth around €15 million for 2024,” O’Donnell said.

“If this new deal goes ahead, Iceland can catch almost the same amount of blue whiting in Irish waters as we do. They have a population of less than 380,000 compared to our population of over 5.2m. They are not an EU member. How is this a fair deal?”

“The heart of the matter is that the EU is effectively using our EU waters to get better deals for other EU and non-EU states at Ireland’s expense,”O’Donnell said, describing it as “both unbelievable and outrageous”.

IFPEA chief executive Brendan Byrne said that “we fail to understand why our minister and his officials are negotiating an agenda driven by the EU Commission. This agenda is not in Ireland’s interest but benefits Iceland as a non-EU member. Have we not learnt any lessons from the past?” 

The volume of Ireland’s pelagic fish exports dropped by 45% last year, according to the latest Bord Bia report, Byrne noted.

“That represents a fall of an estimated 31% in the value of these exports – a loss of €56m to the Irish economy in one year alone,”he said.

IS&WFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy echoed concerns about the Iceland talks.

He also said that he was told by McConalogue last week that recent media reports about a Danish offer of 6,000 tonnes of mackerel to Ireland had “been unhelpful” in the context of Commission talks on Iceland’s access.

As Afloat report, the Danish fisheries minister made the offer in writing to McConalogue last September as a temporary solution during an ongoing dispute over mackerel. The offer was not taken up by Ireland.

Murphy said he had clearly expressed his views on the Danish offer to McConalogue, during an online meeting with him on January 17th, and had “voiced his astonishment as to why, during the many recent meetings with the minister, the existence of this [Danish] letter was not disclosed”.

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The Minister for the Marine has congratulated a Donegal teenager with Down Syndrome, described as having “sea blood running through his veins,” for following his dream to work in the marine sector.

Sixteen-year-old Seán Boyle has passed his three-day Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) Basic Safety Training course, which will allow him to work on a boat or ferry.

“An incredible achievement,” according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, who wished Sean the best of luck with his future career.“An inclusive culture and spirit of opportunity, where everyone has the chance to contribute and achieve their dreams, is vital. Diversity and inclusion add to the richness of our society, and I am delighted for Seán.”

Séan Boyle lives on Árainn Mhór Island and is the third brother in his family to take the training. He got his love of the sea from his fisherman father, John. A Transition Year student at Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada on Árainn Mhór, he had to undergo three days of training at the BIM National Fisheries College in Greencastle to receive his safety card. The training involved tasks such as jumping into a pool with safety gear, going on a life raft on his own and doing elementary first aid. Seán excelled in everything that came his way.

Seán’s mother, Elaine, said the family couldn’t be prouder of Seán who is the youngest of five children. “He is a brilliant character and people person and doesn’t let much get in his way! Our family is steeped in fishing tradition and as soon as he could walk, Seán would put on his wellies and follow his Dad when he was going out in the boat.”

Donegal teenager Séan Boyle from Árainn Mhór has taken a step closer to following his dream to pursue a career at sea by passing his Bord Iaschaigh Mhara (BIM) Basic Safety Training course which will allow him to work on a boat or Ferry. Photo: Brian Farrell16-year-old Séan, a Transition Year student at Gairmscoil Mhic Diarmada School on Árainn Mhór, has Down Syndrome and did not let his disability get in his way to achieve his maritime ambitions Photo: Brian Farrell

He learned to swim when he was younger, taking the ferry every Saturday with his mother across to the mainland to take lessons in Letterkenny Pool. It took him longer than usual to learn to swim. “It was a real commitment, but he was determined,” said Elaine.

Seán said: “If my brothers can do it why shouldn’t I? I am really looking forward to working on a boat.”

Seán’s teacher, Florence Calais, helped him apply for the BIM training, and it is hoped he will do TY work placement in the coming weeks on one of the island ferries.

Garvan Meehan, Principal of the BIM National Fisheries College of Ireland in Greencastle, said: “It was a joy to have Seán on the course in Greencastle. He completed all the tasks with no problems, and his training card is an important step forward towards achieving his goal of working at sea. He is a great example that you can achieve your dreams if you are determined and supported.”

Barry Sheridan, CEO of Down Syndrome Ireland, said: “We’re all incredibly proud of Sean and his achievement. It’s such an impressive qualification, and we know that Sean will be an asset to any vessel he serves on. We at Down Syndrome Ireland, and all our branches and members, are constantly trying to forge new opportunities for people with Down syndrome, and Sean is a real trailblazer. Sean’s Bord Iascaigh Mhara card will be the passport to a brilliant future”.

BIM is the primary training body for the seafood industry in Ireland and runs Basic Safety Training at its National Fisheries Colleges in Greencastle, Co. Donegal, Castletownbere, Co. Cork, and two mobile coastal training units around our coastlines.

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Minister for Marine Charlie McConalogue did not pick up on an offer by Denmark to resolve a three-year row with Ireland over mackerel, which could have been worth almost 10 million euro.

The Sunday Independent reports that a letter sent to McConalogue by Danish Minister for Fisheries Jacob Jensen last September offered a transfer of 3,000 tonnes of mackerel to Ireland for two years.

The letter dated September 25th 2023, obtained by The Skipper magazine and seen by The Sunday Independent, Jensen says the European Commission favoured Ireland and Denmark resolving their differences together, and this transfer would be made “without prejudice” to a long-term solution to the dispute.

The row dates back to Brexit, when Ireland lost substantial access to British waters, bearing the brunt among EU member states of transfer of prawn and mackerel quotas back to Britain.

This had a knock-on negative impact on annual EU-Norway deals on migratory stocks, principally mackerel.

In 2021, Denmark applied to the EU to transfer an “historical” mackerel quota amounting to 12,000 tonnes and formerly caught by its vessels in Norwegian waters into western, in EU waters. This transfer would be at the expense of Ireland and other EU member states.

Irish Fish Processors and Exporters’ Association chief executive Brendan Byrne told The Sunday Independent he was “shocked” as he had no knowledge of the Danish minister’s letter.

Irish Fish Processors and Exporters’ Association chief executive Brendan ByrneIrish Fish Processors and Exporters’ Association chief executive Brendan Byrne 

The industry has regular liaison meetings with McConalogue’s officials and “the letter was never mentioned”, he said.

“A transfer of 3,000 tonnes of mackerel from Denmark to us over two years would be worth over 9.7 million euro to the Irish industry, based on the current price for mackerel of 1620 euro a tonne,”Byrne calculated.

Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation chief executive Patrick Murphy said McConalogue should “reflect on his position” and said he had misled the Irish industry by “failing to tell us about this offer”.

Irish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation chief executive Patrick MurphyIrish South and West Fish Producers’ Organisation chief executive Patrick Murphy

“There are small inshore boats seeking to fish for mackerel by rod and line who are restricted to 400 tonnes a year – they could have done with some of this extra fish, as could larger boats down the coastline,”Murphy said.

At the EU’s December fisheries council, a permanent deal was agreed in Denmark’s favour with a fraction of the share going to Ireland.

McConalogue hailed the December outcome as a “win-back” of quota worth 3 million euro.

“It appears that the minister just sought to ensure that the Donegal mackerel fleet had a sufficient share, preserving the status quota and failing to win back something that would have compensated us all for the Brexit losses,” Murphy said.

The newspaper quotes the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine as stating that “Ireland did not accept Denmark’s proposal of a once-off transfer of mackerel quota in September 2023, as the solution proposed did not reflect the European Commission’s legal analysis which confirmed that this quota originated in the western waters mackerel quota area”.

“The solution negotiated by Minister McConalogue therefore results in a permanent allocation of additional mackerel quota for the Irish fleet, rather than a once-off transfer of quota,” the department said.

Read The Sunday Independent here

Published in Fishing

In the early hours of Sunday, January 7th, Ballyglass RNLI, located in north-west County Mayo, was called to the aid of an injured fisherman. The volunteer crew was alerted by Malin Head Coast Guard to launch their all-weather lifeboat at 3am after receiving a report of an injured fisherman. The request was for the lifeboat to meet the vessel the fisherman was on in Broadhaven Bay.

Under the command of Coxswain Francie Gibbons, the lifeboat launched shortly after with five crew onboard and made its way to the scene. Despite challenging weather conditions with a south easterly force 2-3 wind and a 0.5-1m swell, the crew arrived on scene at 4.30 am and assessed the situation.

A decision was made to transfer the casualty onto the lifeboat, where he was then brought back to shore at Ballyglass Lifeboat Station. The ambulance service was on standby and took over the care of the injured fisherman at 5.10am. Ballyglass Coast Guard was also on hand to provide assistance.

In a statement, Ballyglass RNLI Coxswain Francie Gibbons said, "We would like to extend our best wishes to the casualty for a speedy recovery. We would also like to commend our own volunteers and our colleagues in the Coast Guard and ambulance service for their work in the early hours of the morning. This was an example of great collaboration between all the services involved."

 

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National Watersports Campus, Dun Laoghaire

Dun Laoghaire Harbour Stakeholders combined forces in 2019 to promote a project to improve the Harbour’s infrastructure resulting in improved access, job creation and greater tourism potential. 

A grant application to government made by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCoCo) assisted by stakeholders was successful with the announcement of a €400k feasibility study grant from the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) in January 2020.

It meant plans for the €8m National Watersports Campus at Dun Laoghaire Harbour got the green light from Government and came a step closer to reality.

The project recognises deficits in the current set up in the harbour, proposing the construction of an all-tide publicly-accessible slipway (none currently in the Greater Dublin Area) as well as a marine services facility, providing a much-needed home for the supporting industry. 

The campus also seeks to provide a marketing framework to make boating more accessible to the general public.

The benefits of such an increase might be obvious for the Dun Laoghaire waterfront but there are other spin-offs for the harbour town in the creation of the sort of jobs that cannot be shipped abroad.

Centre for Community Watersports activity and public slipway

  • High-Performance coaching centre
  • Flexible Event Space for hosting national and international events
  • Multipurpose Building
  • Campus Marketing and Promotional Centre
  • Accommodation for Irish Sailing and Irish Underwater Council
  • Shared NGB Facility
  • Education Centre for schools, community groups and clubs
  • Proposed site – Carlisle Pier

Watersports Campus FAQs

Similar to the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, the watersports campus will provide quality, public, recreational and high-performance facilities for the many watersports participants. The Campus will considerably enhance the services currently provided by more than 30 clubs and activity centres to over 50,000 annual users of the harbour.

The passing of control of the harbour to DLRCC, the public appetite for a community benefitting project and the capital funding for sports infrastructure in the Project 2040 National Plan have aligned to create an opportunity to deliver this proposal.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) and the Irish Sailing Association (Irish Sailing) are the project leads, endorsed by the National Governing Bodies of other Irish watersports and clubs and activity providers.

The National Sports Policy, published in 2018, established the Large Scale Sport Infrastructure Fund (LSSIF) to provide Exchequer support for sports facility projects. In some cases, these may be projects where the primary objective will be to increase active participation in sport. In other cases, these may be venues where the focus is more related to high-performance sport.

Government has allocated at least €100m over the term to 2027 to successful applicant projects.

The Watersports Campus was one of seven successful applicants for Stream 1 funding allowing planning to commence on the project design and feasibility. €442,000 has been granted in this phase.

NThe project will provide for a municipally-owned public access facility to include a small craft slipway that is accessible at all stages of the tide (currently none in public ownership in the greater Dublin area), storage and lock-up resources, watersports event management space, a high-performance centre and NGB accommodation.

The project aims to enhance the profile of Dun Laoghaire as a major international venue for maritime events, shows and conferences. Establish Dun Laoghaire as the 'go-to place' for anything marine – generating revenues Create employment in the county - attract businesses, visitors and events. Grow the market for watersports Promote the services of activity providers to the public. Complement the plan to develop Dun Laoghaire as a 'destination.'

As of January 1 2021, The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has approved the applicant project and DLRCC are expected to appoint a team to further advance the project.

©Afloat 2020