KILKEEL HARBOUR DEVELOPMENT MUST BECOME A PRIORITY PROJECT FOR NI, SAYS MARINE ECONOMY LEADERS
Progress on plans to extend the harbour at Kilkeel has become an urgent issue according to a group of local businesses who have created hundreds of new jobs in the last three years. Members of the Sea Source co-operative say the potential for a further 500 jobs in Kilkeel is realistic.
The £36m proposal by the group of fishermen, engineering firms, offshore marine services providers and fish processors, would see the construction of a new breakwater followed by on shore developments to allow access to larger vessels, new industrial units to service the fishing sector as well as general marine economy activity and eventually a marine skills academy.
“Kilkeel is on the brink of a new era in which fishing and offshore work combine to create a wealth of industrial activity which will re-ignite the marine economy,” said Alan McCulla, chief executive officer of Sea Source, the Kilkeel based consortium.
“Coastal communities around Europe area beginning to see the benefits of offshore energy developments and more efficient and ecologically sensitive fishing methods and Kilkeel is no exception.
“In the Irish Sea basin, there are many competitor ports along the south west coast of Scotland, the west coasts of England and Wales and the Republic of Ireland yet Kilkeel stands out as the most forward-thinking and ambitious of them all.
“This position needs to be consolidated and Kilkeel must be upgraded to make it for purpose for the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead,” he says.