The Irish Marine Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has announced the allocation of €12.7m to fund 15 marine infrastructure projects.
These projects will address the impact of Brexit on Irish coastal communities and will be delivered by local authorities. Under the Brexit Adjustment Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme (BALAMI) 2022-2023, these projects were previously put forward by the local authorities.
The Minister praised the Local Authorities for their commitment to delivering projects through the BALAMI Scheme. He stated that, by the end of 2023, the government had delivered €37.8m in funding to support the delivery of 148 capital projects across the Irish coast. These projects will provide immediate economic stimulus to address the impact of Brexit, as well as lasting infrastructure to underpin long-term resilience.
The BALAMI Scheme approved up to €55.3m for 164 marine infrastructure projects located in 13 coastal local authorities. The Seafood Taskforce recommended the Scheme to support local authorities to rejuvenate Ireland’s coastal and marine infrastructure, specifically to address the economic consequences of Brexit arising from the implications to the Irish fishing industry.
Despite delivery challenges for some approved projects, including consenting, procurement, supply chain, and weather windows for works, the government has approved 2024 projects on the basis of their capacity to be delivered in 2024. The selection also took into account their ongoing relevance to addressing the impacts of Brexit on Ireland’s fishing industry.
Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Projects 2022-2024
The Minister noted that the government has engaged with the European Commission on the Brexit Adjustment Reserve funding and has secured the maximum flexibility possible into early 2024. He considers it vital to progress these projects in the post-Brexit era and wants to see delivery optimized to align with BAR.
The Minister concluded by emphasizing the significant social and economic importance of seafood to Ireland, which continues to play a vital role in the sustainable economic viability of many coastal communities across the country. He added that these projects will help to provide diversification opportunities for those coastal communities that have been particularly affected by the consequences of Brexit.
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is administering the Scheme, and each local authority is responsible for the governance and delivery of its own projects.