Ireland’s Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring joined BIM (Bord Iascaigh Mhara) and the North West Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) to announce over €500,000 in total investment for 22 distinctive coastal community based projects across the counties of Mayo and Sligo.
Co-funded by the Irish Exchequer and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the FLAG programme is implemented by seven regional FLAG groups, with administrative support and animation provided by BIM. Over the duration of the programme from 2014-2020, the FLAG Programme will deliver €12 million in funding to Ireland’s coastal communities.
FLAG Northwest received an extensive range of applications from coastal community groups focusing on marine based tourism projects, maritime themed festivals, fishermen’s harbour development, maritime education and training, seafood and aquaculture based initiatives with a final 22 projects meeting the criteria of the FLAG programme that will deliver an overall investment of €545,000 including grant aid of €315,403.
‘I am delighted to announce FLAG Northwest support for 22 original, dynamic and creative projects generated by people and communities who are extremely passionate and committed to the future development of their coastal community,’ Michael Ring said.
‘The Fisheries Local Action Group programme funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund is a vital support to rural Ireland and it’s obvious from the interest in the FLAG Northwest that the approved projects will inspire future generations to see the economic and social benefits of our amazing marine resource and its related maritime industries’
‘The North West is renowned for its seafood, fishing, aquaculture and of course marine tourism industry and activities and today’s announcement by Minister Ring of such a large and varied range of projects serves to highlight the commitment and value of the seafood and wider marine sector to these counties. I would especially like to thank and compliment the board of FLAG Northwest under the chair of Gerry Hassett for their excellent work to date’ added BIM’s CEO, Jim O’Toole.
The FLAG Northwest strategy focuses on economic and coastal community development across the North West Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim and aims to maximise co-operation amongst the counties, associated marine organisations while bringing to fruition the ethos of the FLAG strategy.
From the 22 approved FLAG Northwest projects, a number of unique projects have been selected from counties Mayo and Sligo which highlighted a number of the core values of the FLAG Strategy, coastal community development, infrastructure support of fishermen, maritime education in primary schools and marine tourism community festival:
‘FLAG Northwest showcases the diversity, innovation and influence of the marine sector across the coastal counties of Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim. This round of funding for applications received from Mayo and Sligo will have a huge impact on their communities and will create direct and indirect employment in the sector,’ said Gerry Hassett, chairman of FLAG Northwest.
‘The sea is a huge natural resource which brings many challenges to coastal communities but it also has a hugely positive influence in terms of innovation, enterprise, fishing, seafood, aquaculture and marine tourism. From the 22 approved projects, we also see many legacies for the future not least of all coastal communities working together to achieve great vision for the future and better local economies.’