HAYES URGES FOREST OWNERS TO ATTEND WINDBLOW EVENTS

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes TD, today welcomed the announcements by Teagasc and the ITGA that they are to run a number of field events to assist forest owners and practitioners to manage windblow sites.

Recently the Minister visited several sites that were damaged by Storm Darwin in Castleisland, Co. Kerry, and Athea, Co. Limerick. Minister Hayes said “As chairman of the Windblow Taskforce it is important for me to visit these sites first hand and to meet the private owners, Coillte, Teagasc and foresters on the ground to discuss the various issues that arise when owners are faced with windblow damage. I was genuinely shocked at the level of damage I saw across the country side in west Limerick. Some sites appeared to be a real tangled mess and I would urge everyone in the industry to put safety first when attempting to harvest in these areas. ”

Minister Hayes added “I very much welcome Teagasc’s field events planned for 8th April in Mullinavat Co. Kilkenny and 16th April in Castleisland Co. Kerry focusing on the needs of those forest owners affected by Windblow and indeed I intend to be there myself. Teagasc have teamed up with Coillte, the Forest Service of my Department and others to provide as much information as possible on these forest walks. This will add considerably to the information already provided in the ‘Windblow Guidance note’ that the Taskforce issued recently”

In addition to these field events the Irish Timber Growers Association (ITGA) is also holding an event, on the 11th April in Tullamore Co. Offaly, advising forest owners affected by Windblow on the marketing and sale of the timber. Minister Hayes said “I welcome the work of the ITGA in the whole area of timber marketing and sales. The ITGA have produced some excellent documentation and processes in terms of timber security for private owners and are currently finalising a Template timber sales agreement and this will be very useful to those forest owners who now find themselves in the position where they will be trying to sell their timber sooner than expected”

Minister Hayes added “This is a difficult time for forest owners who have experienced windblow and I would like to assure those that help and advice in dealing with the damage is available from their local Teagasc adviser or forestry consultant. Alternatively email your query to windblow@agriculture.gov.ie .”

MINISTER ANNOUNCES €23M PACKAGE FOR PIERS AND HARBOURS

Coveney-8394

Coveney-8323MINISTER COVENEY ANNOUNCES €23M PACKAGE FOR PIERS AND HARBOURS COUNTRY WIDE.

€8.5M FOR 115 STORM DAMAGED PIERS AND HARBOURS.

€14.63M CAPITAL INVESTMENT IN MAJOR HARBOUR DEVELOPMENTS.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced details of a €23m package for the repair of public owned piers, harbours and slipways damaged during the winter storms and for investment in the ongoing development of Ireland’s public harbour network.

In announcing this initiative, the Minister said “We are all too well aware of the damage wreaked on our harbour network during the winter storms. I am delighted to announce as part of an extended capital programme for 2014, this significant funding for the immediate repair of piers and harbours across the country”.

€8.5m for 115 storm damaged piers and harbours to assist 11 Local Authorities and the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine to repair this storm damaged infrastructure. (see tables 1&2 for details)

· Funding of €7m for 111 projects to repair Local Authority owned storm damaged harbours, piers and slipways and €1.5m for remediation work at four Department owned, non-Fishery Harbour Centres including €1.3m for North Harbour Cape Clear.

“In addition, a further €14.63m of funding is being provided for harbour development in 2014 and this represents a significant increase on the level of funding provided in 2013. This is an indication of the Government’s commitment to developing our fishery harbours for the benefit of our fishing industry, seafood processing sector, other ancillary marine industries, tenants and the wider community. It is part of an ongoing and long term strategy to develop and improve the facilities at our Fishery Harbour Centres and other public harbours around our coast.” (see table 3 for details).

· €11.63m of this is allocated towards safety, maintenance and new development works at six Fishery Harbour Centres at Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Ros a Mhíl and Killybegs, in addition to infrastructural improvement works at “bull nose” pier, North Harbour, Cape Clear. This works also includes €4m for dredging works at Dunmore East.

· €3m is being allocated for Local Authority Harbour Development and Marine Leisure programmes. The Department is contacting the relevant Local Authorities in relation to applications under this element of the Programme.
Flagship projects in the 2014 Capital Programme include the works at “bull nose” pier Cape Clear, major dredging works at Dunmore East, electrical upgrading in Howth, slipway works at Ros a Mhíl, Castletownbere and Dingle, and a small craft harbour in Killybegs.

The Minister commented that “the projects consisting of €23m in total capital expenditure will repair the storm damage to our vitally important fisheries piers and harbours network and will develop our harbours for the benefit of our seafood industry and the coastal communities dependent on this infrastructure. This package will help to ensure that this important infrastructure is fit for purpose in the modern era and will bring significant added value to local communities and much welcome jobs and economic activity”.

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