Seven coastal regions and 153 projects are to benefit from €3.6m investment under the Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) strategy. Announcing the package, Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said that more than 200 applications had been received and represented a “testament to the hard work and dedication” of the volunteer FLAG Board members.

The  final selection were chosen for their “contribution to community rejuvenation, enterprise, innovation, job creation and skills enhancement across the fishing, aquaculture and maritime industries”.

FLAG 2017 Ballycotton

Finian O’Sullivan, Chairman, FLAG South; Jim Kennedy, Atlantic Sea Kayaks; Minister David Stanton; Minister Michael Creed; Jim O’Toole, BIM chief executive; Monica Buckley and Peter Shanahan, ‘The Fresh Fish Deli’ Rosscarbery, Co Cork and Stephen Belton, Bayview Hotel, Ballycotton. Photo Don McMacMonagle 

“Seafood and its wider role in the community is at the core of this innovative programme and it is the diverse nature of the projects funded under the scheme that illustrates the true value of the seafood industry to our coastal communities and also the potential for further growth in the years ahead.”

Chairman of the board of South FLAG, Finian O’Sullivan, noted that 17 local successful projects covering marine tourism; seafood development and production; community-led initiatives and supports from small-scale coastal fishermen, would receive €250,000. The funding would underpin an overall value to the economy of more then €500,000 and would contribute to the Action Plan for Rural Development. 

The FLAG Scheme is co-funded by the Exchequer and the EU under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme 2014-20.Over the duration of the EMFF programme, the FLAG Scheme will deliver €12m in funding to Ireland’s coastal communities.

FLAG is a coastal community development strategy, focussed on coastal community rejuvenation and is centred on the renewal of practices and skills in the fishing, aquaculture and maritime-related sectors with the primary aim of bringing added-value to the seven FLAG Regions.

Restoration of such related practices while inspiring innovation, business and enterprise yielding local job creation through the fishing, seafood, tourism and marine industries along with social inclusion form the integral component of the FLAG coastal community strategy.

The seven FLAGs are: South FLAG (Cork); FLAG Southwest (Kerry, Limerick); FLAG South East (Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow); FLAG West (Mayo, Clare); FLAG Northwest (Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim); FLAG North, (Donegal) and FLAG North East (Dublin, Louth, Meath).

BIM assists FLAGs to deliver this programme through administering supports via grant-aid, training and on-the-ground facilitation, with dedicated regional FLAG coordinators in each region. 

FLAG                                   Projects                             Investment                 Grant Aid Requested

North                                    31                                      €468,047.23                    €307,001.30

Northwest                            22                                      €544,988.03                    €315,403.64

West                                      33                                      €819,884.62                    €410,667.91

Southwest                            10                                      €277,539.00                    €162,082.00

South                                     17                                      €503,617.18                    €250,243.31

Southeast                              29                                      €645,334.35                    €423,846.77

Northeast                             11                                      €417,790.98                    €209,073.48