The marine tourism and leisure sector in Ireland is one of great potential which offers the State a genuine opportunity to foster balanced economic development and job creation. The Government fully recognised this potential and addressed the need for investment in marine recreational infrastructure by providing £20 million under the National Development Plan 2000-2006 to the sector.
Under the plan, my Department will have responsibility for administrating the marine tourism grant scheme, the main objectives of which will be to improve marine tourism access infrastructure, such as marinas, berths and slipways, and to encourage integrated development and co-operative partnerships, particularly in relation to networks and clusters. The grant scheme will form part of the two regional operational programmes and the funding has been allocated with £6 million for the south and east region and £14 million for the Border, midlands and western region.
The marine tourism grant scheme is one of five sub-measures of the overall tourism measure of the national development plan. The scheme is currently being prepared by my Department in consultation with the Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Bord Fáilte and is expected to be launched later this summer.
While applications for funding cannot be considered until the scheme is launched, nevertheless, details of those parties who have expressed an interest in the scheme are being kept on file and application forms will be sent to them as soon as they are available. I can assure the Deputy that once the formal scheme is in place, all applications received, including any which might be made in respect of Dunmanus Bay, will be assessed in accordance with the procedures laid down under the scheme.