Government plans to redevelop Castletownbere the largest fishing port on the south coast.

The plans include 120 metres of extra quayside space, the harbour and its approaches will be dredged, a new fish auction hall, and new facilities for the Harbour Master and Department of the Marine staff. 

Castletownbere is the biggest white fish port in the country but for a long time it's needed a major improvement of its facilities.

Despite the promises being made, fishermen are sceptical that the plans will go ahead as other projects planned recently never went ahead. 

On his first visit to Castletownbere since his appointment, Minister for the Marine Dermot Ahern assured fishermen that the project would be fast tracked and work will start in the autumn. 

Dermot Ahern says that the money has already been allocated by the Department of Finance. 

The two most modern boats in the local fleet which cost a total of €16 million, two thirds of the value of the Harbour Development Plan, have been prevented from fishing as they were not given licences. The Department of the Marine claims that the boats were built beyond agreed design. Negotiations on the issuing of licences continue. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 24 January 2004. The reporter is Tom MacSweeney.