Dáil Éireann - Volume 454 - 22 June, 1995

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Bay Area Sea Bed Levels.

23. Mr. Callely asked the Minister for the Marine his views on the increase in sea bed levels in the Dublin Bay area; if his attention has been drawn to public concern over the long-term effect of the causeway to the Bull Island; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11461/95]

Mr. Gilmore: No evidence has been made available to the Department of the Marine about an increase in sea bed levels in Dublin Bay.

I am aware that there is a public perception that the causeway to Bull Island, constructed by Dublin Corporation may have increased levels of siltation in the area. This is a matter for Dublin Corporation to investigate and they have recently commissioned consultants to carry out a study on siltation levels and other environmental impacts of the causeway. The Department will co-operate with Dublin Corporation and their consultants in any way possible.

Mr. Callely: I tabled this question because, since being elected a member of Dublin Corporation in 1985, the corporation officials have refused to move [1898] one iota in regard to the breaching of the Bull Island causeway. There is genuine public concern about the long-term effect of the causeway to the Bull Island which will no longer be an island if the sedimentation continues to occur as rapidly as it has done since the causeway was built. Given that the studies will indicate there has been rapid sedimentation in the immediate aftermath of the development of the causeway, and an increase in sea bed levels, will the Minister support the breaching of the causeway? I would welcome a clear yes or no answer from the Minister.

Mr. Gilmore: Deputy Callely's question is premised on his assertion that the studies will indicate there is an increase in siltation. We do not know what the studies will indicate. Dublin Corporation has engaged consultants, and we will have to await their report. When that report has been received, it will be for Dublin Corporation to deal with the matter.

Mr. Callely: Excuse the pun, but the Minister seems to be somewhat at sea. There are already studies to indicate that there has been rapid sedimentation. I am surprised the Minister is not aware of those. I appreciate that this is a hypothetical question, but given that we already have such a study and that the local yachting clubs can confirm an increase in sea bed levels, with or without a report, will the Minister support the need for the breaching of the causeway if the conclusion of the study being undertaken by ESB International confirms the existing report?

Mr. Gilmore: It is not possible for me to answer a hypothetical question. This is a matter for Dublin Corporation in the first instance. It has engaged consultants who will report to the corporation which can then make an application to the Department of the Marine under the 1993 Foreshore Act. When such an application is made it will be considered. We have made a number of inquiries of Dublin Corporation as to [1899] the progress of the report and any assistance Deputy Callely can provide as a member of Dublin City Council will certainly be welcome.

Mr. Callely: I must express my surprise yet again at the Minister's response. He was unaware of the rapid sedimentation immediately after the causeway was built, and now he is unaware that the study which is being undertaken by ESB International of 18 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, only commenced this week — they were receiving submissions until this week and will not be reporting for one year. There will be little or no progress on the study. This matter is of grave concern to the majority of people living on the north side of the city and whoever is responsible should take an interest and get a handle on the matter. I am not satisfied with the reply. I urge the Minister and the Minister of State——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy is making a speech.

Mr. Callely: I am happy to put myself at the disposal——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Deputy has been given a good deal of latitude.

Mr. Callely: This matter is extremely important. I am disappointed with the reply. It is totally unsatisfactory on such an important issue.

Mr. Gilmore: Dublin Corporation is responsible for the causeway and engaged consultants. We were in contact with Dublin Corporation on 15 April 1994, 8 July 1994, 13 July 1994, 20 July 1994, 30 November 1994, 30 March 1995 and 22 June 1995 and it informs us that the study will be completed by April 1996. The causeway was built in 1966, almost 30 years ago. The Deputy should direct his enthusiasm for progress on this matter at Dublin Corporation.

[1900] Mr. Callely: With the support of the Minister for the Marine?