The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, today announced the approval of the second tranche of the Brexit Adjustment: Local Authority Marine Infrastructure Scheme (BALAMI) 2022 – 2023, bringing total funding for the Scheme to €55.3m for 164 projects around the Irish coast. Today, Minister McConalogue approved funding for 54 new projects; provided additional funding for 19 previously approved projects which had requested additional funding in light of cost increases, and raised the rate of funding provided for all projects to 95%. Additional funding for the Greencastle breakwater project of €4.6m was announced in September this year, with almost €32m funding announced in April 2022, the new funding announced today is over €18.9m.
In order to optimise the opportunity presented by the Brexit Adjustment Reserve to help the seafood sector adapt to the impacts of Brexit though modernised public marine facilities, the Minister decided to increase the funding rate offered in this Scheme to a maximum of 95% of the eligible projects. All projects approved under the Scheme will benefit from this rate; the remaining 5% must be provided by the local authority from its own resources. Commenting on the increased scheme contribution the Minister stated:
“It is vital that this capital injection delivers benefits to our coastal rural communities especially with the current challenging economic environment. To best provide for project delivery I considered it prudent to confer additional funding to projects that have been impacted by higher-than-expected construction costs and to increase the scheme contribution thus reducing the local authority contribution.
The Scheme, which provides funding to local authorities to revitalise Ireland’s public marine infrastructure, is proposed for funding under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve. Conferring the approval for the funding of the projects, the Minister commented:
“This second call returned an equally impressive number of applications. I now ask the local authorities to prioritise delivery on all projects so that this important economic stimulus can be delivered. The BAR funding is only available until the end of 2023 and this is a unique opportunity to reinvigorate our public marine infrastructure.”
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. Post Brexit regeneration has been identified by the Seafood Taskforce as a key enabler for offsetting the implications of Brexit on the Irish fishing industry. This Scheme is designed to support economic sectors, businesses and local communities and to support job creation and protection by distributing Brexit Adjustment Reserve funds to enhance, upgrade, modernise and develop Ireland’s publicly owned coastal and marine infrastructure to facilitate diversification of economic opportunities.
The Minister added that:
“This funding will support local authorities to rejuvenate Ireland’s coastal and marine infrastructure specifically to address the economic consequences of Brexit arising from the implications to the Irish fishing industry. Again, I must acknowledge the co-operation and engagement between local authorities, coastal communities and political representatives to make this happen.”
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.