Following on from the announcement of a scheme to provide up to €35 million to local authorities to rejuvenate Ireland’s public marine infrastructure, Minister Charlie McConalogue today announced the approval of €32.7 million in funding for 110 projects around the Irish coast (see below document) which will fund projects worth over €40 million in total. The scheme is proposed for funding under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve.
The Brexit investment in Public Marine Infrastructure – BALAMI Table: Download
Announcing the approval for the funding of the projects, the Minister commented:
“It is fantastic that we received so many great applications in this first call for projects and it is truly heartening to see such eagerness to help support our coastal communities transition to living in a post-Brexit economy. I must acknowledge the co-operation and engagement between local authorities, coastal communities and political representatives to make this happen. This is the largest ever funding announcement of its kind for local authority marine infrastructure and I am confident that it will future-proof our piers and harbours right around our coast. This announcement is also the next step in the Greencastle Breakwater project which I announced approval for in May 2021 and which will have a significant positive impact on the North West.”
The Scheme arose from a recommendation of the Seafood Taskforce, set up in March 2021 to look at the impacts specifically on the fishing sector and coastal communities. The Taskforce recommended that the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) be used to fund rejuvenation of Ireland’s publicly owned coastal and marine infrastructure specifically to address the economic consequences of Brexit arising from the implications to the Irish fishing industry. This investment is intended to help to drive economic diversification and will complement other measures such as Community Led Local Development via the Fisheries Local Action Groups.
The Minister encouraged local authorities to pivot now and focus on delivery of their approved projects:
“It is vital that the construction stimulus identified by the Seafood Taskforce is felt as soon as possible in coastal communities, particularly with the other geopolitical challenges currently at play. I ask that all projects with the necessary consents be actioned as soon as possible. The BAR funding is only available until the end of 2023 and this is a unique opportunity to reinvigorate our public marine infrastructure.”
The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is administering the Scheme. Each local authority is responsible for governance and delivery of its own projects. A further call for projects will issue later this year to allocate the remaining funding under the Scheme.
The Table in the document above provides details of the 110 approved capital projects across 13 Coastal Local Authorities approved.
The Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) is a special one-off emergency instrument. The objective of the BAR is to provide support to counter the adverse economic, social, territorial and, where appropriate, environmental consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union in Member States, including their regions and local communities, and sectors, in particular in those that are most adversely affected by the withdrawal, and to mitigate the related negative impact on the economic, social and territorial cohesion. Ireland is the biggest beneficiary of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve and the first Member State to receive its pre-financing. Use of the BAR is governed by EU regulation. Fisheries and coastal communities were an important element of the negotiations on the Member State BAR allocations.
The Report of the Seafood Task Force proposed an €80 million, five-year initiative for the development of publicly owned marine infrastructure, of which the earlier years would focus on small scale “shovel ready” Local Authority projects to be funded under the BAR. The objective is to give immediate construction stimulus to the coastal communities impacted by the TCA and that the resulting infrastructure development would provide a longer-term platform for the development of new and diversified economic activity in these coastal communities. The provision of this enhanced publicly owned marine infrastructure would be a key enabler in allowing integrated application at a local level of the Task Force’s other recommended initiatives for the seafood sector, locally led development and marine tourism initiatives.
The Brexit Adjustment: Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme 2022-2023 is designed to support economic sectors, businesses and local communities and to support job creation and protection by distributing BAR funds to enhance, upgrade, modernise and develop Ireland’s publicly owned coastal and marine infrastructure to facilitate diversification of economic opportunities. The main condition for reimbursing public authorities is that the costs incurred must be directly linked to countering the adverse effects of the UK’s withdrawal. Funding from the Reserve must be availed of before the end of 2023. Local authorities will need to meet these and other conditions to avail of the funding.