Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cork Harbour Development Plan.


asked the Minister for Transport and Power when he intends to announce the Government's decision on the Cork harbour development plant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


andMr. Brosnan asked the Minister for Transport and Power when he proposes to announce the Government's decision on the Cork harbour development plan.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 12 together.

The Cork Harbour Commissioners' application for a full cost State grant for their harbour development plan, as revised following deferment of the Du Pont project, has been under close examination in the Government Departments concerned. That examination is almost completed and I hope to have the application submitted for decision by the Government during the current month. I will announce the Government's decision without delay.

Was the Cork development plan submitted by the Government as a regional fund project?

It was submitted to the Department of Finance by my Department. They are the people who make the choice between the various plans submitted to them from other Departments.

Has the Minister no information?

No, I have not.

In view of the fact that there is a very serious decline in shipping in Cork harbour this year and the prospects for next year are very dim, could we hope that this announcement will be made by the Minister the first week of January next?

I will make the Government's decision known without delay.

Has the Minister recommended the harbour development plan to the Government for approval?

I have not recommended anything yet. An examination is going on. There are a number of other Departments involved, Industry and Commerce, Local Government, Agriculture and Fisheries and also the IDA. There are a number of people concerned in this. When the revised plans came in earlier this year all those people had to be consulted again. The examination by these Departments is now almost complete and I will be submitting that to the Government and putting it up to them to make the decision then.

I am sure the Minister is aware of the urgency of his announcement in this respect. I plead with him now, if it is possible, to make this announcement at least in January.

We have already had that question. We cannot afford the luxury of repetition at Question Time.

The Minister's reply appears to cast a doubt on the fact that this development plan will be implemented at all. Will he tell the House if and when this development plan, to which already the Minister, the Taoiseach and other Ministers have made an absolute commitment, will be honoured? It would appear from the Minister's reply that he is now going to submit a proposal——

Brief questions, please.

——having already committed himself—the Taoiseach also committed himself—to the implementation of this plan.

I gave that information in my reply.

The Minister said he was going to refer the matter——

This is not good enough at Question Time.

This is no mere parochial matter.

I want to facilitate the Deputy but the Chair is anxious to have as many Deputies' questions as possible answered. I cannot remain unduly long on any question. I have already allowed the Deputies a good number of Supplementary Questions. A final supplementary, Deputy.

I was not allowed to ask any supplementary yet. I was not allowed to finish.

I have already allowed the Deputy some supplementaries.

I may have something new.

We have not time to argue on these matters. A brief supplementary, please.

Does what the Minister said mean that he is not aware if the Cork harbour development plans were submitted for consideration for grant aid under the regional aid scheme?

I said we have submitted them from my Department through the Minister for Finance to the Department of Finance.

The Minister does not know if they were considered by the Regional Commission?

The Minister is from Cork.

That has nothing to do with it.

The Minister does not seem to be very interested in it.

Question No. 13.

It is hard to understand, when we talk about collective responsibility by the Government and Ministers of the Cabinet, that the Minister is not aware whether or not this was submitted to the regional fund. Surely the Minister must know, if there is collective, responsibility within the Cabinet, exactly what the Minister for Finance is doing?

I do but I think the Deputy does not appreciate that all Departments have schemes which they consider suitable for regional development fund assistance. They submit these to the Department of Finance, who in turn submit them to the commission. I do not know, from my knowledge, if the total list has gone or whether portion of it has gone from the Department of Finance. I know this was included in one of the schemes from my Department to the Department of Finance.

Question No. 13.

Will you let me finish the question that I was interrupted in?

I am seeking to facilitate the Deputy.

I want to ask, if I may, whether the Minister knows if the Government are going to implement the plan they have already promised and to the implementation of which they have committed themselves?

That question has been answered three times already.

It has not. The Minister has not answered it.

I answered that in my original answer.

I just want to clarify one point which I think is very important: will the development plan for Cork harbour depend on the decision made in regard to the Regional Fund?