As part of Project Ireland 2040, The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, announced the signing of a €14.7 million capital works contract to deliver a 120m long quay development and associated works at Smooth Point, Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre, Co. Donegal.
Welcoming the signing of the contract with contractor ABCO/Fugro JV, the Minister said “This is a very significant investment for the North West coast of Ireland which will be a big boost to Killybegs and Donegal in general. The Project will add a further 120 metres of workable quay space in the harbour and, as a result, will improve safety conditions in the harbour by alleviating congestion during the peak fishing season at this major port.”
This is the second phase of the Smooth Point project, the first phase involved the removal and disposal of contaminated sediments and cost in the region of €6.6m. This final phase which involves the removal of the remaining uncontaminated sediments and construction of the additional 120m quay wall was subject of a public tendering process. It is expected that works will commence in September and that the project will be substantially completed within 9 months.
The Minister went on to say that “In approving this development, I have taken account of the unprecedented success of the previous major harbour development in 2004 in increasing fish landings, driving on the development of the onshore downstream industries and attracting other commercial marine traffic in Killybegs. That success has resulted in the need for a further major expansion to manage current activity levels and future proof the harbour. This major quay wall extension will provide long-term berthing for approximately 10 large pelagic fishing trawlers and will facilitate safe stern-on berthing for the largest vessels in the Atlantic fleet.”
Minister Creed explained that “Government Policy is to substantially increase the landings into Ireland from all vessels that fish in the waters around Ireland. We want to see Ireland become the hub for all the marine activities that can be generated by the sustainable harvesting of these renewable resources in our marine sphere. Developing our Fishery Harbour Centres, such as Killybegs, to facilitate our industry and be able to attract and handle these landings is a key step in achieving our ambitions in this area, in line with the Government’s integrated marine development strategy “Harnessing our Ocean Wealth”.”
In summing up, the Minister said “I view this project as a testament not only to this Government’s support for the Killybegs fishing industry and the ongoing development of the wider seafood sector, but also to our commitment to the social and economic development of rural coastal communities. When completed, the new facilities will be on a par with the best in Europe, and will significantly drive forward the fishing industry and local economy in Donegal and allow for a major expansion of the seafood support sector and other marine related industries in the North West. Killybegs has seen a marked increase in the number of cruise ships and cargo vessels docking in the harbour over recent years and it has also become the port of choice for the importation of wind turbines. The expanded landing facilities and increased quay space will provide further opportunities for greater economic diversification.”
The project has been approved in principle for funding under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme, co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union.
The Minister concluded that “the Irish seafood industry faces ongoing challenges, such as the significant challenge of Brexit. By providing world class landing facilities for our industry and for the many other EU vessels that we wish to operate out of Ireland, we are protecting our coastal communities and creating the opportunity for the seafood industry to continue to grow, prosper and facilitate a simultaneous growth of other ancillary marine industries.”
Note to editors
1. Photographs attached below.
2. Since 2007 overall landings into Killybegs have increased by 48% in volume from 105,955 tonnes to 220,046 tonnes in 2017, and increased by 42% in value from €41.7m to €100.2m in the same ten year period.
3. Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre is one of the six designated Fishery Harbour Centres which are owned, managed and maintained by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Photograph of development works