Rural coastal economies in Mayo received a boost yesterday (Thursday ) with the announcement of €1.35 million in funding for harbours and coastal infrastructre.
The funding from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is to be spent at 23 different locations throughout the county.
While the funding is good news for the fishing sector and marine tourism, many coastal communities have been devastated by storm damage early in the year and the funding is believed by some to be a drop in the ocean of what is actually needed to put right the infrastructure along the coast.
The funding will be used to carry out repairs and work at slipways, piers and harbours.
Some of the biggest funding announcements are for Killerduff, Ballycastle, and Rathlacken, with €135,000 allocated to both, Dooagh, Achill, which is getting €115,000 and Belderrig, Ballycastle, where €90,000 is to be spent on works.
Funding of €76,500 has been announced for works on Clare Island and a further €63,000 has been announced for Killala Harbour.
Other announcements include Mulranny Pier, which is set to get €67,500, and Inishkea in Belmullet to the tune of €45,000.
Works in the region of €72,000 will be carried out at Blacksod Pier.
Westport Quay is to get €27,000 and Roonagh will get a further €18,000.
Killala based Councillor Jarlath Munnelly said it is the biggest funding allocation for harbours and coastal infrastructure that he has seen in his time on the council.
He said the last few years has seen Mayo typically get funding for three to four projects, however 23 locations are included in this allocation.
“Some of these places have been ignored for years and, locally, people are delighted this funding is coming,” said Cllr Munnelly.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring said significant storm damage was caused to Mayo’s coastal areas in January and February.
“The announcement today of €1.35 million will aid tremendously in the repair of the harbours and piers,” he said.
However Belmullet based Cllr Rose-Conway Walsh said that while any funding for piers and harbours is welcome it is not enough to address the major problems along Mayo’s coast.
“We have had such severe under investment in piers and harbours over the years, even in the boom times, so this will fall very short of what is needed,” said the Sinn Féin representative.
“Most of the piers and harbours in the county are not fit for purpose in terms of meeting the needs of fishermen.”
Similarly, Achill’s Cllr Michael McNamara said that while the funding had to be welcomed, Achill was one of the worst hit regions in the country during tidal storms and this funding does not look to be enough to address the problems this has caused.