A €25 million redevelopment of the State-owned fishery harbour in Ros An Mhíl in Co Galway has been announced by the Government.

The financial package will fund the construction of a deep water pier which will provide an extra 200 metres of quayside.

It is hoped larger fishing vessels will be accommodated that will will bring the Galway harbour closer in line to Killybegs and Castletownbere.

Speaking in Ros An Mhíl, Minister for Agriculture and Marine Charlie McConalogue said the investment is significant - not just for Galway but for the whole of the western region.

At the official announcement of the funding, which was signed off by Cabinet earlier, the Minister said the project is "going to be important for the fisheries industry in Ros An Mhíl and west Galway" allowing the sector to develop.

Minister McConalogue also said the investment will help the renewable energy industry and provide further jobs in that sector.

He said the development of Ros An Mhíl is "a really good strategic vantage point to be able to service that industry in the years ahead".

Údarás na Gaeltachta hopes that the port could ultimately be used as a hub for the construction of several wind farms off the western seaboard.

Rónán Mac Con Iomaire, Director of Regional, Community and Language development at Údarás na Gaeltachta said a recent study indicated there are 900 full time jobs available for the Gaeltacht area in off-shore wind energy.

Initial planning permission for the works was granted in 2002, but that lapsed in 2011. A second application was granted in April 2018 and expires next year.

It is understood that the Department of Agriculture's decision to approve funding for the project follows a detailed cost-benefit analysis on the plan in recent months.

The department expects that work on the redevelopment could commence by the end of the year and may be completed by mid-2024.

Construction will be funded through the Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme.

Last October, a report, commissioned by Údarás na Gaeltachta, suggested Ros an Mhíl was well placed to serve as a support hub for companies planning to develop offshore wind farms.

The feasibility study said the development of a deep water port would allow it to function as a support location for the floating offshore wind (FOW) sector.

The study - carried out by Dublin Offshore Consultants - said additional infrastructure was needed to capitalise on the environmental and economic benefits of "new generation assets" in the years ahead.

The Government has set a target of 30 gigawatts (GW) of FOW off the Atlantic Coast by 2050.

The report's authors modelled three scenarios, for low, medium and high output energy generators.

They found that even if Ros An Mhíl was to service 3GW, there would be the potential to generate between 300 and 900 jobs.

However, they also warned that corresponding investment would be needed to improve the national grid capacity.

High scenario modelling would also require other uses for electricity, such as the production of hydrogen and integration to a 'super grid'.

Additional reporting Pat McGrath