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Work begins on Ros a’ Mhil pier redevelopment

Work on the development of a new €30 million deepwater quay at Ros a’ Mhíl will begin in January.

It comes after Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue, signed a works contract with Kilcolgan-based engineering company Ward & Burke Construction Limited to expand the harbour in the Conamara Gaeltacht.

The project is expected to be finished by September 2024.

Currently Ros a’ Mhíl has 325 metres of quayside but is limited in deep water to a maximum of -5.8 metres chart datum and experiences congestion in busy fishing seasons.

The new development will be accessible to large vessels such as Irish Navy vessels, Marine Institute Research Vessels, marine survey vessels and marine leisure craft.

It will provide an additional 200 metres of quayside to accommodate larger fishing vessels and attract additional landings from both Irish and non-Irish boats.

Minister McConalogue said: “Our fishery harbour centres are critical infrastructure for the seafood industry and Ros a’ Mhíl is a clear example of how these facilities stimulate economic activity for the surrounding rural coastal communities with the potential for downstream development and jobs.

“This project is further evidence of this Government’s commitment to addressing the impacts of Brexit on the fishing sector and to a strong future for Ireland’s seafood primary producers.”

The Minister announced his backing of the project in February 2022, after a twenty-year campaign by the local community.

At the time, businessman Nicholas O’Connor of Coiste Tacaíochta Chalafoirt Ros a’ Mhíl, a committee that campaigned for the development, said it was a ‘historic day’ for Conamara. He predicted its importance to the area would be on a par with the setting up of Irish language television station, TG4.

The first feasibility study examining a deepwater berth was commissioned in 1999, and campaigners have been lobbying for the development since. In 2017, a cost benefit analysis by MWP consultants on behalf of the Department of Marine recommended investment in a deepwater berth at the Fisheries Centre.

Planning permission for this phase of the port’s development was granted by Galway County Council in 2017.

Galway West TD Éamon Ó Cuív said this latest announcement was a ‘huge vote of confidence in the West’.

He said he approached his party colleague when he was appointed minister with responsibility for marine and brought him to Conamara to see the plans.

“As a Fianna Fáil Minister he realised the importance of this project to the Gaeltacht, to Conamara and the West.  I hope now that this development will give a major boost to the fishing industry in Ros a’ Mhíl and lead to a re-opening of the Iasc Mara factory there, which was a major employer in the past,” he said.

Deputy Ó Cuív added the harbour could also become a key asset to the offshore wind energy sector.

The project will be funded through the Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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