Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D. announces the South West FLAG Strategy

10 Fisheries Local Action Group Projects to Deliver Investment of €162,000

Newly appointed Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with special responsibility for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin T.D. announced the South West FLAG, (Fisheries Local Action Group) Strategy at a seafood breakfast in the award winning Jack’s Coastguard Restaurant in Cromane, Killorglin, Kerry this morning Monday 3rd July.

The South West FLAG Fund has approved 10 projects with an investment of €162,000 in Kerry. The South West FLAG, is one of 7 FLAG regions from Ireland’s coastline that will benefit from the FLAG scheme, administered by BIM, Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, which is co-funded by the Exchequer and the EU under Ireland’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme 2014-2020. Over the duration of the EMFF programme, the national FLAG scheme will deliver €12 million in funding to Ireland’s coastal communities.¿

Speaking at the South West FLAG launch, Minister of State, Brendan Griffin T.D. said; ‘I am delighted to be here today on my first official function in the picturesque coastal location of Cromane and the awarding winning Jack’s Coastguard Station to announce the Southwest FLAG strategy and support for 10 projects on behalf of the South West Fisheries Local Action Group that will deliver¿€162,000 to the Kerry region. It’s fitting that our location this morning represents the core ethos of FLAG in terms of coastal community rejuvenation in a fisheries dependent region. The 10 projects announced today follow the national announcement by my colleague and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed of 153 projects that will deliver €3.6 million in investment to all 7 FLAG regions around the coast. FLAG allows Kerry’s rich marine heritage to be further enhanced and developed while creating new jobs in the sector and also boosting enterprise, innovation and social engagement while also creating strategic opportunities within the marine tourism sector in Kerry on the Wild Atlantic Way’.

The primary role of the South West FLAG Strategy in association with the overall FLAG programme is to rejuvenate Kerry’s coastal communities, foster enterprise, innovation, creativity and social inclusion in the continued development of the Fisheries, Seafood and Marine sectors.¿Increased job creation, positive social impact and wellbeing throughout Kerry’s coastal communities are at the soul of this FLAG strategy for Kerry.

BIM’s CEO Jim O’Toole¿added;¿‘BIM has worked closely with the South West¿FLAG¿to provide assistance and training where required,¿to enable the members to develop and implement a strategy that is tailored to the¿specific needs¿of the region. Kerry is a well-established and resourceful fishing and aquaculture community where marine tourism is also important and the announcement of such a¿diverse range of projects¿today by Minister of State Mr Brendan Griffin highlights the value of seafood and the wider marine sector¿to the county. The Board of the South West FLAG led by their Chair Kevin Flannery must be complimented for their unwavering dedication and commitment to deliver this important programme for Kerry’

The South West FLAG Strategy highlights the central themes of economic development while harnessing and developing the skills and knowledge of Kerry’s coastal communities in addition to promoting social wellbeing, and coastal cultural heritage. It also looks at protecting and promoting the environment of Kerry’s coastal communities, and its’ biodiversity. The Southwest’s rich marine heritage in terms of fishing, seafood, marine tourism boast many unique features and characteristics through the county.

The Chairman of the Southwest FLAG Kevin Flannery, said “We are absolutely delighted to be part of the FLAG Strategy here in Kerry where at the core lies the ethos of the bottom up approach whereby communities work together, small enterprise mobilises itself forward into bigger market places and co-operative initiatives showcasing the diversification are evident. Such initiatives are inspiring individuals, small business, seafood producers and fishermen and setting the foundations for coastal communities, fishing groups, producers, business and tourism sectors to come together to generate more vibrant Kerry coastal communities. The South West FLAG strategy will solidify such opportunities which will ultimately create jobs, enterprise, business and more vibrant communities for future generations and maintain the strength of our marine heritage and industry. Ten excellent projects have been approved to date which will inspire more and we will continue to develop this hugely important Southwest FLAG strategy for Kerry.”

Three distinctive projects have been approved by the South West FLAG for support and highlight the core ethos of the scheme are as follows:

FM Marine Services provides substantial employment in a Marine related sector that has a significant impact on the economic and social fabric on a coastal community such as Valentia and its hinterland. The company also develop and maintain boat building skills with in the local community thereby increasing the opportunities for young people to get jobs in the area.

Currently employing 14 people full time FM Marine services is fully aware of the need for resilience Southwest FLAG support will allow the project to expand the offering of boat building and fit out in the South West enabling the business to maintain and create jobs. The proposed project would create the ability to service much larger vessels including fishing trawlers and larger yachts, in addition to allowing the opportunity to tender for valuable RNLI service contracts. The additional work generated by the proposed project would enable the company to expand our workforce to 20 by 2020.

Comharchumann Forbartha an Leith Triúigh-“Sustaining the Fishing Heritage of Cloghane Brandon”

The Community had a strong Salmon Fishing industry around which a rich tradition was lost due to the cessation of the mixed stock fishing for Salmon. It is critical to the identity of Brandon Cloghane as a coastal community. The fishing community also has a strong networking with neighbouring fishing communities. This network is rich in Cloghane Brandon Folklore and heritage. CFLT want to collect & capture this heritage before its memory in the community before it is lost. Investment of €9,650 and South West FLAG support of €7,720 has created a Southwest FLAG project here to collect written, oral and visual information about the salmon fishing tradition in Cloghane Brandon and produce a record of this which can act as a living record for the community but also be a source of information and a heritage attraction for the wider public visiting the area.

This process will involve: Collecting information and imagery and such archives; Interviewing local people and those from neighbouring communities for their fishing stories from Brandon; Organising Sea Shanties Evenings to collect stories. This was very successful at the Dingle Peninsula Storm Festival; Collating & Editing the information for content for 2 booklets, social media and video. Translating into English and Irish as required; Liaising with the video production company and publishing company; Organising the launch of the material; Promotion of Project at Brandon Regatta.

The information sourced would be available for view all year around at the Cloghane Brandon Tourist and Heritage Centre

Fenit Coastal Rowing Club a community based club which offers excellent rowing and training in the sport, past time and club to locals and visitors alike is also benefitting from the South West FLAG. This is an excellent example of a community based project which takes a long standing traditional skill of rowing and of course the wonderful natural resource of the sea, the coast and Fenit to train and involve future generations locally and visitors to this region of the Wild Atlantic. It will be an excellent resource to the region in terms of skills and people.