The biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken on an Irish island was launched at the weekend.
At a cost of €40m, the redevelopment of the port on Inis Mor -- the largest of the three Aran Islands -- is also the biggest single project ever funded by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. It is the equivalent of €50,000 per head of population on the island.
Inis Mor is the largest of the country's populated offshore islands, with 824 people living there. At the height of the tourist season, the population is multiplied several times over.
The re-development of the port, planned in conjunction with Galway County Council, involves the construction of a 550 metre breakwater; widening and upgrading of the pier; dredging works to create a deep anchor bed; new cargo facilities; a new lifeboat station, a walkway and parking facilities.
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon O Cuiv turned the first sod on the project.