Wednesday, 2 March 2022
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Harbours and Piers
235. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will continue to provide Departmental funding for coastal infrastructure to ensure that those harbours and slipways that are ineligible for Brexit Adjustment Reserve funding receive maintenance and investment funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12014/22]
236. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide funding for coastal infrastructure to ensure that harbours and slipways that are not shovel-ready can engage in the necessary planning and design works that may render them eligible for the Brexit Adjustment Reserve funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12015/22]
237. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will establish a framework and method of working with local authorities to ensure investment needs for smaller piers and harbours can be addressed via the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, Departmental or other funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12016/22]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 235 to 237, inclusive, together.
On 25th January 2022, I launched a new €35m scheme exclusively for the rejuvenation of local authority owned public piers and harbours, the Brexit Adjustment Reserve Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme 2022-2023. The Scheme flows from the Seafood Taskforce Report which addresses the impacts arising on the seafood sector from the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The Scheme is a unique initiative designed to support job creation and protection by distributing Brexit Adjustment Reserve funds to enhance, upgrade, modernise and develop Ireland’s publicly owned coastal and marine infrastructure to facilitate diversification of economic opportunities. The Scheme will run throughout 2022 and 2023.
The Seafood Taskforce recommended a focus on small-scale ‘shovel-ready’ projects to give immediate construction stimulus to the coastal communities. Projects associated with harbour development or marine leisure works that are clearly associated with shore-based infrastructure such as quays, piers, slipways, and floating pontoons and certain other associated equipment will be considered eligible under the Scheme.
Following the announcement of the Scheme, my Department hosted on online information session for local authorities and since then has issued all relevant documentation, including application forms, to coastal local authorities. The applications for the first tranche of projects are invited by March 8th. There will be other opportunities during the year and during 2023 for further applications. My Department will identify projects for approval having regard to the purpose and criteria of the Scheme and to the priority attached to each project by the relevant local authority.
The responsibility for the development and maintenance of local authority owned piers, harbours and slipways rests with each local authority in the first instance. I am also mindful that the primary governance role for local authorities rests with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage and any wider funding issues for local authorities should be addressed to that Minister.
This Scheme represents record funding for our coastal communities and is an unprecedented opportunity for us to shape the future of our coastal communities. Brexit has and will continue to affect our seafood sector in a unique way compared to other industries. It is important that this Scheme helps to deliver safe, accessible, lasting infrastructure and support economic diversification right around our coastline.