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FLAG factsheet - United Kingdom - Northern Ireland

Offical name: 
Northern Ireland South East Area
United Kingdom
Northern Ireland
County Down
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Description of the area and its main challenges

This Northern Ireland FLAG is located on the south-eastern shores of County Down. The three main villages include: Ardglass, Kilkeel and Portavogie which comprise 95% of the Northern Ireland fishing fleet and industry. All are historic coastal ports, with many families working in the fishing industry for generations. Although the areas share a common maritime tradition, and relative socio-economic characteristics each village is unique. Over the last 30 years the fishing industry has faced a continual decline in fish stocks. Allied with wider economic and environmental factors, this casts an increasingly shadow over the local fishing community.

Population: 12 140                                                                          Employment in fisheries: 1 054*

Surface area/km²: 491                                                                  Coastal or inland: Coastal

Population Density/ Inhabitants/ km²: 36                                    Protected areas: No

* fish catching sector: 556 full-time equivalents; processing & marketing: 400 FTEs; other fishing related jobs: 98 FTEs

Main focus of FLAG strategy

Supporting a sustainable and profitable future for local fishing communities by:
- Supporting community development
- Promoting business development & diversification
- Driving tourism & leisure development
- Technical development assistance

Environmental Management (1-5, where 5 is high priority and 1 is low priority): 5

Improving the competitiveness of the fisheries sector (1-5): 5

Diversification into other activities (1-5): 5

Community Development/Business Development and Diversification/Tourism & Leisure Development (1-5): 5

Project examples and ideas

Community Development
- Research & Development
- Learning, Training & Skills Development
- Organisational & Partnership Development
- Infrastructural Development & Environmental Sustainability
- Innovation and Promotion

Business Development & Diversification
- Research and development
- Learning, training and skills development
- Organisational and partnership development
- Infrastructural development and environmental sustainability
- Innovation and promotion

Tourism and leisure development
- Events, activities and facility development
- Support and product development
- Tours development opportunities
- Marketing and promotion
- Environmental improvement and aesthetic development

Technical development assistance
- Feasibility studies
- Technical studies
- Business plans
- Planning technical support


Lead partner or Responsible Legal Entity: Down District Council

Other key actors/organisations in the partnership:
- Anglo North Irish Fish Producers Organisation
- Ards Borough Council
- Down Business Centre
- Down District Council
- East Down Rural Community Network
- Kilkeel Chamber of Commerce
- Mourne Heritage Trust
- Newry & Mourne District Council
- Northern Ireland Fishery Harbour Authority
- Northern Ireland Fishing Producers’ Organisation
- Northern Ireland Women in Fisheries
- Scampi Processors Association
- Seafish UK
- Southern Regional College
- Strangford Lough & Lecale
- Private tourism companies

Links with LEADER: Down District Council and members of the FLAG are also involved in the LEADER program

% of public actors (on the decision-making board): 25 (4 people)

% of fisheries actors: 37.5 (6 people)

% of other (non-fisheries) private / NGO sector actors: 25 (4 people)

% of environmental actors: 12.5 (2 people)

Number of individuals/organisations in partnership: 16 organisations

Number of individuals on main decision-making body: 16

Number of contracted staff in FLAG: 2 FTE



Total public budget of FLAG 2007-2013:                     €3 000 000

EFF:                                                                               €1 500 000

Other public (national/ regional/ provincial):                     €1 500 000 (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development)

FLAG Manager: 
Kevin McGarry
Other contact: 
President: William Burns
Downshire Civic Centre, Downshire Estate, Ardglass Road, Downpatrick, BT30 6RA, UK
kevin.mcgarry (at)
+44 28 4461 0800
+44 28 4461 0801
Languages spoken: