Dáil Éireann - Volume 502 - 11 March, 1999

Written Answers. - Harbours and Piers.

40. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the proposals, if any, he has to replace the Harbours Act, 1946; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7470/99]

41. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources the amount of funds allocated to Sligo harbour over the past ten years; when funds will be granted to Sligo Harbour Board; if his attention has been drawn to the major plans and developments in place; if Sligo [408] will be one of the key targeted ports in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7471/99]

Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Dr. Woods): I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 41 together.

I presume the Deputy is referring to the replacement of the Harbours Act, 1946, in the context that it is the statute under which Sligo Harbour Commissioners currently operate and are responsible for the management and control of Sligo Harbour.

As the Deputy may be aware, the Government's An Action Programme for the Millennium identifies as a key priority transferring small harbours to local control to develop marine leisure activities in the context of securing and enhancing the livelihoods of the coastal communities who depend on the sea for their future. Partnership 2000 commits to review the strategic options for the future development and management of declining commercial regional ports. The strategy statement 1998-2000 of the Department of the Marine and Natural Resources commits as a key objective to facilitate the restructuring of the roles of sub-regional ports.

In this connection consultants have been contracted to undertake a review of State regional ports and harbours with a cargo throughput of less than 250,000 tonnes. Sligo Harbour is included in this review. The intention is to develop a general strategic framework for these ports and harbours, having regard to their differing conditions and potential, and to recommend generic and port/harbour related models and options which will best deliver the objectives of the strategic framework. The review will also critically address financing, port viability and future prospects.

In relation to the Harbours Act, 1946, the position is that pending completion of the review and consideration of its findings the Harbour Authorities concerned including Sligo will continue to operate under that Act.