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The former Salesian Convent in Cahercon

Proposed Clare maritime project not viable, Dáil told

DEVELOPING maritime training facilities at Cahercon isn’t economically viable, but getting a marine research facility installed may be a runner instead,the Dáil has heard.

Clare TD Michael McNamara asked Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment Damien English for an update on the matter,

He specifically inquired about “the status of Enterprise Ireland funding totalling €1,759,226 allocated to Clare County Council in 2018 for the development of the Clare Maritime Economic Zone project for Cahercon, Kildysart”.

In his reply Mr English said, “Clare County Council were approved funding of €1,759,226 under Call 2 of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund in 2018 to support the development of a Maritime Enterprise Zone.

“The proposed project was initially on an identified site in Cahercon, Kildysart, Co Clare.

“I have been advised by Enterprise Ireland that subsequent to the grant approval and detailed examination of this site by the promoters, it was established that the renovation costs necessary to develop the planned facilities would be multiples of the originally forecasted costs.

“These increased costs meant the project was no longer viable as envisaged in Cahercon. As a result the promoters sought alternative options for the delivery of this project.

“I can advise the Deputy that the promoters have currently identified a site in Kilrush to locate the planned training activities, while the marine research facility option will primarily remain in Cahercon, which has a jetty on the site.”

He said the promoters have plans to deliver this in 2022 and are putting in place a strategy to secure the additional funding necessary to underpin the project, with potential additional funding provided by Clare County Council and a possible further application to be made to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

Minister English added, “Enterprise Ireland have advised that they are continuing to work with the promoters to ensure the delivery of this project.”

The school at Cahercon closed almost 20 years ago and the site has been unoccupied for some time now.

When the allocation of funding was announced in 2018 there was hope that the site would be put back in use and that it could provide a boost to Kildysart, but that has not come to pass more than three years on.

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.