Minister of State Andrew Doyle T.D. Announces Investment of over €400,000 for 13 Coastal Community Projects across Louth, Meath and Dublin

Today, (Friday 28th of July), Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle T.D. joined BIM, Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency and the North East Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin to announce grant aid of €219,310 to 13 distinctive maritime projects across coastal communities in counties Louth, Meath and Dublin that will deliver a total investment of €434,337.

FLAG North East is one of 7 regional FLAG groups that operate under the FLAG programme, co-funded by the Exchequer and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and contributes to the Action Plan for Rural Development. Administered by BIM, the scheme will provide 12 million in funding to Ireland’s coastal communities over the duration of the programme from 2014 – 2020.

Speaking at the National Maritime Museum, Minister of State Andrew Doyle T.D. said, “How fitting it is to be here this morning in the iconic National Maritime Museum of Ireland, itself a FLAG approved project, to announce over €400,000 in investment for FLAG North East. Thirteen superb maritime related projects have been approved by FLAG North East,  each showcasing the diversity, vision and enterprise from unique coastal communities along the Irish Sea where marine life, heritage, history, fishing and seafood has been a significant contributor to the local economy for many generations. In this national rollout of FLAG funds, we have experienced the enthusiasm and hunger amongst coastal communities to protect and grow their respective marine industries and this is evident here again today. As we stand in a popular maritime tourist attraction in the historic port of Dún Laoghaire just a short distance from the heart of our capital city, we are surrounded by some of the finest examples of seafood, aquaculture, marine tourism and marine community collaborations from Louth, Meath and Dublin and all of which are at the heart of the Fisheries Local Action Group Strategy”.

The announcement in the National Maritime Museum today completes a series of regional announcements for  South FLAG, (Cork), North, (Donegal) South West (Kerry, Limerick), South East (Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow) West ( Mayo, Clare),  North West (Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim) culminating in over €3.6 million in total investment for the 7 coastal regions in 2017.

BIM’s CEO, Jim O’Toole, added, “The announcement by Minister Doyle for the North East region today further demonstrates the energy, vigour and dynamism amongst the people of the coastal communities in each of the FLAG regions around our coastline over the past number of weeks. It’s inspiring to experience this appetite for rejuvenation that the FLAG support is provoking. The FLAG programme supported by the European Maritime Fisheries Fund is encouraging growth in marine based enterprise, job creation, maritime tourism and the fishing, seafood and aquaculture sectors all of which will create healthier localised coastal economies. The North East FLAG is very much testament to this with the variety of the 13 projects announced here today. I would particularly like to congratulate Garret O’Brien, Chair of FLAG North East and his board for their excellent work to date. Needless to say, we can look forward to the work of FLAG North East and the six other FLAG’s around Ireland contributing to the maritime heritage collection in this wonderful National Maritime Museum in years to come”.

The FLAG North East Strategy focuses on economic and coastal community development across Louth, Meath and Dublin and aims to maximise co-operation amongst the counties associated marine organisations while bringing to fruition the ethos of the FLAG strategy.

Chairman of FLAG North East, Garret O’Brien, says “the projects to be funded by FLAG North East highlight the rich coastal heritage, seafood and marine tourism potential of Louth, Meath and Dublin. Because of the FLAG Programme and the projects we support, we are seeing increased community collaborations and huge energy in the North East. We can see this across all 13 approved projects and the many more vying for future funds. What this clearly demonstrates to me is the passion amongst those in our coastal communities for our region, for its seaside, shoreline and seafood. There is a real desire to work together to maintain and promote these assets and to capture the opportunities our beautiful Coast presents. We are looking forward to seeing the real and positive impact the FLAG programme will deliver to the region and our members will continue to work to protect and promote the long term sustainability of all of our coastal communities across the North East”

Thirteen approved FLAG North East projects have been approved, a number of projects have been selected which highlight the core values of the FLAG strategy and the diversity marine heritage, seafood, social inclusion and marine tourism collaboration across Louth, Meath and Dublin. Details of the selected projects include:


Egan’s Ocean Fresh in the Coastal village of Skerries, Co Dublin

Fourth generation fishmongers in Dublin, Egan’s Ocean Fresh is steeped in the fishing and seafood industry. This project, led by Egan’s, involves the fit out of a new wet fish and cooked seafood processing facility located in Fingal, designed to service the increase in demand from existing customers and expansion into new markets. This facility will also include a factory retail outlet.

Currently trading as a fishmonger and wet fish processor based in Skerries Co. Dublin, Egan’s supplies local retail customers with value added fresh fish sourced locally and processed on their premises. They also supply to restaurants and hotels in the North East Region.

The new facility will be home to “Simon’s Fishcakes” a company to whom Egans currently supplies whitefish. Simon’s produce, high end Fishcakes for Supervalu Supermarkets in Leinster and are now about to go nationwide.

This FLAG funded project will allow both of these businesses to expand and service the increase in demand for their current seafood products, but it will also allow their exciting, newly developed products to be brought to market. New products include Egan’s Gravalax a uniquely cured salmon product crusted in dill, a process that  leads to a truly mouth-watering seafood experience.


National Maritime Museum

Ireland’s National Maritime Museum is housed in Dun Laoghaire’s 180-year-old Mariners Church, directly opposite the new Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Lexicon library and easily accessible by DART suburban train and several bus services. The museum’s greatest artefact is probably the building itself as it is one of a few custom built places of worship for seafarers remaining intact in the world today.

Experienced guides bring visitors on a voyage of discovery enthralling you with stories of discovery, heroism, war and disasters at sea. Maritime history, exploration, navigation, radio, deep-sea cable technology, nature, wildlife and viewing of art inspired by the sea are key themes of this maritime museum experience.

The 10-tonne revolving Baily Optic, the electrified steam engine, the Titanic exhibit, the re-created radio room, the Royal Navy prisoners docks and the war memorial are key exhibits. Learning to tie sailor’s knots, or how heavy weights are lifted at sea also form part of the experience along with the research in the library, a retail experience, a café and much more.


Red Fish Events – Seafood Rocks Festival, Clogherhead, Co Louth

Seafood Rocks 2017 is a family festival which celebrates all aspects of the sea, seafood and Irish Maritime Culture and runs from August 26th to 27th in Clogherhead, Co Louth. It is aimed at all age groups and features a diverse programme of events which highlights the wonderful collaboration between the fishing, seafood, marine tourism and coastal community sector.

Local fishmongers and traders will join forces to create a unique seafood offering by setting up a series of trade stalls each evening showcasing a diverse selection of excellent quality seafood delicacies. In addition the ‘Best Chowder in Louth’ competition will take place with the winner going forward to compete in the All Ireland Chowder competition in Kinsale in 2018. In addition the Seafood Challenge and Crab Racing will compliment this showcase ensuring that the seafood ethos is enjoyed by all visitors over the two day celebration and festival. Local outdoor activities specialist, Celtic Adventures, will provide unique water and land activities for all age groups during the festival.