Dáil Éireann - Volume 414 - 10 December, 1991
Written Answers. - EC Aid for Port Projects.
Mr. Nealon Mr. Nealon
30. Mr. Nealon asked the Minister for the Marine if he will ensure that capital grant aid will be available to commercial ports on the same basis in the Republic  of Ireland as that in the North of Ireland; and if he will outline the comparisons between Ireland and the rest of the European Community in the level of State aid towards port development.
Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson) John P. Wilson
Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson): I am conscious of the difference between the rates of EC aid available to some ports in Northern Ireland and the rate currently available here under the operational programme on peripherality.
Within the allocation available to them at the time, the Government decided that the goals of the programme — of offsetting the impact of Ireland's peripheral location and assisting sub-regional development — could best be achieved by spreading the allocation over the optimum number of our key ports. The programme currently provides that our harbour authorities can receive grant aid of up to 50 per cent of their approved project costs.
As far as Structural Fund aid is concerned, there is an absolute limit of 75 per cent on the EC grant assistance that can be provided to projects. The possibility of increasing the rate of EC aid going to port projects is being actively pursued by me.
Member states can, of course, provide additional aids to their own ports. I am aware that ports in the Community have received such aid from their own authorities.
The Deputy will appreciate that because of the limited resources available to the Exchequer here, funding for port projects must be tightly rationed. Factors such as the harbour's ownership, financial status and the priority attaching to projects, are taken into account in determining the level and necessity of State investment. In the current operational programme on peripherality, for instance, port projects at Drogheda, Dundalk, Foynes and Waterford are being part funded by the Exchequer.
Dáil Éireann 414 Written Answers. EC Aid for Port Projects.