Dáil Éireann - Volume 586 - 01 June, 2004
Written Answers. - Lighthouse Service.
Mr. Ferris Mr. Ferris
223. Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will make a statement on the upkeep and cost of lighthouses here; and the person responsible for funding this service. [16439/04]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
Mr. D. Ahern:The Commissioners of Irish Lights, CIL, provide a service of lighthouses throughout the whole island of Ireland. CIL have vested in them under section 634 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894 the responsibility of superintendence and management of all lighthouses and other aids to navigation in respect of the State and the adjacent seas and island. The UK Merchant Shipping Act 1995, section 195(1), empowers the commissioners with the same functions for Northern Ireland and adjacent seas and islands. In addition, there is an obligation on CIL to inspect and approve the aids to navigation systems and to audit the subsequent management of aids to navigation provided by ports and local authorities.
CIL is one of three general lighthouse authorities serving Great Britain and Ireland. The Commissioners of Irish Lights is a user pays service, the primary source of revenue coming from light dues levied on commercial shipping,  which relies for its safety on these aids to navigation. All light dues collected in Britain and Ireland are pooled into a central fund called the general lighthouse fund which is administered by the UK Department of Transport. This fund meets the costs of the three general lighthouse authorities. Light dues collected at ports in the State are not sufficient to meet the full cost of the service and are supplemented by an annual Exchequer contribution to the general lighthouse fund.
The cost of running the Irish lighthouse service for 2002-03 was €23.4 million for the whole island of Ireland. Light dues income was €5.3 million and the Irish Exchequer contribution was €2.8 million.
Dáil Éireann 586 Written Answers. Lighthouse Service.