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€10m scheme to turn town's harbour into tourist attraction

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The plans for the revamp of Balbriggan Harbour

The plans for the revamp of Balbriggan Harbour

The plans for the revamp of Balbriggan Harbour

A seven-year rejuvenation project for Balbriggan will bring a €10m revamp of the town's harbour.

The scheme is part of an overall €30m project led by Fingal County Council in co-operation with the town's Leadership Group.

The plans will mean Quay Street gets a linear park, Main Street will become a green corridor and Bremore Castle will be fully opened to attract tourists and boost employment.

The commuter town, also named Ireland's youngest and most diverse town, will have the harbour transformed into a visitor attraction.

The county council has its eye on a two-storey nightclub at the harbour which it wants to turn into a culture centre, complete with water sports.

This project aims to acquire key buildings "to reimagine this scenic location as a premier destination" and improve access to the beach.

Abandoned

"The facilities at the harbour are not up to speed now. There's no storage for nets and many of the boats are abandoned," said long-term resident Independent councillor Tony Murphy.

"There's not a lot of employers and many people commute to Dublin for work. The harbour would be a tourist and visitor hub and hopefully provide a way of increasing employment."

The Our Balbriggan project is entering its second year and so far €30m has been committed by the council - but this may increase to €50m as the plans roll out.

In its first year 20 goals were reached, including establishing two playgrounds, a skating area and the library refurbished with office pods, a meeting hub and high-spec IT hardware.

Balbriggan has more than 20,000 people and has been named Ireland's fastest-growing town, said Mr Murphy.

An office space has already been identified which will be operated by the county council for the Our Balbriggan project, to engage with the public and let people make suggestions.

Balbriggan Chamber of Commerce president Richard Berney, who owns an accounting business in the town, said the project was much needed.

"The chamber is very supportive of the plans and it's going to see a huge improvement to local business and the community," he said.

"The harbour is very close to the centre of town so it's a natural focal point.

"It's currently used by a combination of fishing and leisure craft, with people taking their own boats out."

He said the town had seen "money going out" as the majority of residents worked in the capital and travelled daily.

"It's much needed and the engagement from the community has been very positive," he said.