LATEST proposals for a bigger harbour in Valentia, Co Kerry, include a 200-berth marina, it has emerged.
At an estimated development cost of €5 million, the harbour would require a floating pontoon protection wall.
Earlier this week, Ceann Comhairle John O'Donoghue along with Kerry county manager Tom Curran met two ministers to discuss funding for the Valentia pier and harbour.
Government funding of €2m had already been approved but a case is being made for the floating pontoon which has the backing of local groups, including the RNLI which has a lifeboat based in Valentia.
Mr O'Donoghue described the meeting with Minister for Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon Ó Cúiv and Minister of State for Fishing and Forestry Tony Killeen as positive.
"Both ministers are now fully aware of the vital importance of this proposed development for Valentia and south Kerry," Mr O'Donoghue said.
The pier is used daily by a ferry operating between Valentia and Renard.
It is reckoned a pontoon wall would give a four-fold increase in harbour capacity.
Mr O'Donoghue said, as well as providing facilities for the lifeboat to be moored closer inshore, the larger harbour would also have better facilities to develop fishing in the area.
He also said a marina development would be a boost for the harbour.
"This [marina] would provide many high quality jobs into the future related to the marine industry and the servicing of boats and leisure crafts," he said.
In recent years, marinas have been provided in other parts of Kerry including Fenit, Dingle and Caherciveen.