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Plans begin on 'state-of-the-art' multimillion marine park in Galway Gaeltacht

It’s hoped the park will generate employment and investment in the disadvantaged rural Gaeltacht area.

Initial plans for the park.
Initial plans for the park.
Image: Shane O'Brien/Údarás na Gaeltachta

SUBMISSIONS ARE BEING sought for the creation of a “state-of-the-art”, low-carbon, marine innovation park called Páirc na Mara in the Connemara Gaeltacht.

Significant first steps are being taken by Údarás na Gaeltachta in the planning and development of Páirc na Mara, which will be based in Cill Chiaráin in the Conamara Gaeltacht.

The nine-hectare park will comprise a variety of marine related activities. The vision for the site includes a fish hatchery, a shellfish holding facility, research & development units, a slipway or pier and business units for start-ups.

The aim of the park is to help drive the growth of the marine research sector and enable economic growth in the area, thus providing productive employment for future generations in this rural Gaeltacht area.

The Carna/Cill Chiaráin area is an area which recent Census figures and other reports has termed as being disadvantaged and in need of support and employment.

Estimates place initial development costs of the park in the region of €3 – 5 million. It’s hoped that when the park is completed that it will generate multiples of that initial investment.

Plans for the park are being created by Údarás na Gaeltachta in partnership with a number of organisations – including Galway County Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and Gaeltacht.

But an tÚdarás is looking for expressions of interest from potential project promoters in the marine sector who may be interested in getting involved with Páirc na Mara.

Minister of State with responsibility for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands Joe McHugh said that he hoped the project “will provide significant investment and essential employment not only in this remote rural area of Conamara but in the broader region also”.

Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine Michael Creed said the plan would create “a platform for cross-business and cross-sectoral collaboration and connecting people with different backgrounds, skills and perspectives.

“This will facilitate technical development, translating R&D potential into marine related products and markets, to generate new spin-off companies and support the overall growth process of SMEs in the sector.”

Read: ‘The marine equivalent of fracking’: Europe to legalise controversial pulse fishing

Read: Why Irish fishers are right to be worried about the UK taking back control of its waters

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