Joint Statement by Brendan Griffin TD and Cllr. Séamus Cosaí Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 06 November 2012.
BIM is to investigate the possibility of locating an organic salmon farm off the west Kerry coast, which could potentially create hundreds of jobs.
Kerry Fine Gael TD, Brendan Griffin, approached BIM with the proposal recently and now, CEO Jason Whooley, has confirmed that BIM is interested.
In the coming weeks, BIM will liaise with fishermen in the Ballydavid area in an attempt to identify preliminary sites for the project. A similar BIM project, located off the coast of the Aran Islands in Galway, is currently progressing through the official planning process and is expected to create up to 500 jobs if permitted.
Deputy Griffin and Dingle Fine Gael County Councillor, Séamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, say that the potential project could be a massive boost for the local economy. The idea was born out of a recent meeting in Dingle between Ballydavid fishermen, Minister Simon Coveney, Deputy Griffin and Cllr. Fitzgerald.
Deputy Griffin says that it is very early stages yet but the idea needs to be pursued fully, given the huge benefits that it offers.
“My discussions with the CEO of BIM, Jason Whooley, have been very positive and I am delighted that BIM will shortly liaise with the Ballydavid fishermen with a view to identifying potential sites. Kerry badly needs a major jobs boost and such a project would make a huge positive difference to hundreds of families. The Aran Islands project, which will create 500 jobs at full production, is an ideal template for a Kerry project. That project is going through the planning process at present and is currently out for public consultation. Public consultation, sustainable development and environmental impact study has been at the heart of the preparation of the Galway project and I would expect the exact same in Kerry. Kerry has been in the middle of an unemployment and emigration nightmare in recent years and this is the type of project that we need for our economic reawakening.”
Cllr. Fitzgerald said:
“This is a very exciting prospect for Kerry and its feasibility deserves to be fully investigated. It isn’t every day that the potential to create a large number of jobs comes along and therefore we must explore every aspect of this idea to see if it can become a reality. The impact of unemployment and emigration is crippling Kerry and job creation is needed now more than at any time in the history of the state. When Minister Coveney came to Dingle recently, we discussed this idea with him. Now, it is very encouraging to see BIM willing to engage with us to see if it can progress to the next stage. The local expertise and knowledge available in Ballydavid will assist in this process and I am very hopeful that a good news story can develop out of this.”
The 500 jobs linked to the Galway project will come mainly through processing on land, with about 65 jobs being created at sea. Any similar project in Kerry would expect to have the same breakdown, which would be very good news for job seekers throughout the county. BIM is also examining the possibility of similar projects off the coasts of Mayo and Donegal. Deputy Griffin said that he will be meeting Mr. Whooley again in the near future to discuss the matter further and will also discuss the matter with Minister Coveney in Leinster House this week.