Minister Coveney opens the pier. Pic: Niall Duffy

THE Minister for the Marine, Simon Coveney has officially opened a major new €39.5 million pier development in Castletownbere.

The major development at Dinish Wharf on Dinish Island is set to reinforce the town as one of Ireland’s major fishing ports and its largest whitefish port.

Proximity to rich fishing grounds makes Castletownbere an attractive fish landing location for Irish and foreign vessels.

The new pier at Dinish Island. Pic: John Eagle

The major pier development on Dinish Island which commenced in 2005 as part of a multi stage project now provides world-class infrastructure to grow the marine industries in Castletownbere to new levels.

The project is a major infrastructural development that included the dredging of the approach channel, inner harbour and berthing quay at Dinish Island, the construction of a 215m quay and associated infrastructure.

The harbour can now accommodate more modern and larger vessels and the development will address congestion in the harbour.

In addition, cruise vessels and large commercial or exploration vessels will also now be able to land into and operate out of Castletownbere.

Minister Coveney said, “It provides a springboard to grow the fishing, aquaculture and associated industries to new heights and opens the door to the opportunities identified in the report being launched today.

“I would like to acknowledge the contribution of everyone associated with the construction of this facility, which was lead by my Department.

“Adding value to fish landed in Castletownbere is key to the economic future of the area.

“For every €1 million of fish landed, a further €2.12m is created by the processing and ancillary sectors. If we can process more Irish and foreign landings, the area will benefit substantially and we are currently working through BIM and the industry to achieve this,” he said.

As well as the officially opening the pier, the Minster also unveiled a new report on the future of the fishing industry in Castletownbere which outlines a number of potential areas of growth for the future including tuna processing, the development of a frozen prawns at sea brand and an increase in aquaculture development, support and processing.