PLANS for the development of a marina at Ballina Quay has received a timely boost following a meeting between Mayo Fine Gael TD Michelle Mulherin and Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Deputy Mulherin has received confirmation from Minister Coveney that Mayo County Council's shovel-ready proposal for the Ballina harbour marina at the Quay can be considered when 2016 funding streams are established early in the New Year.
"Mayo County Council has now granted Part 8 planning for the development and Minister Coveney confirmed to me that the council can make a formal application for the marina when 2016 funding streams are established early in the New Year and opened.
"While I welcome very much the funding of €461,000 which I secured from Minister Simon Coveney over the past couple of years for aids to navigation, maintenance and storm damage repairs at Ballina Harbour at the Quay, I am now pressing for the area to be developed into a marina. I met with the minister just before Christmas and asked him to consider funding the marina.
"Mayo County Council has now granted part 8 planning for the development and the new director of services, Joe Loftus, confirmed the project is now shovel-ready.
"Last summer, the Quay Regatta festival was revived after many years with much aplomb. It was a great success and was a timely reminder of the massive potential this area has for marine leisure tourism as we look for new ways to entice tourists to the region.
"The marina would complement the existing amenities and activities in the area including the long tradition of boating and fishing. The marina would be located along the Wild Atlantic Way beside the renowned Belleek Forest Park where the Monasteries of the Moy Greenway, Ballina to Killala, is under construction and near completion. Also Failte Ireland has designated Ballina Harbour as a Discovery Point.
"The minister acknowledged the importance of supporting the fishing tourism and recreational sectors which are a vital source of income and employment in marine communities. He confirmed that Mayo County Council's proposal can be considered when 2016 funding streams are established early in the New Year and opened and at that stage the council can make a formal application.
"I believe we need to press forward with a bold and great vision for the development of a marina at the Quay and I will continue to push for this funding and seek other avenues as appropriate."