Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Shannon Region Estuarial Authority.

10.

asked the Minister for Communications the reason for the delay in setting up an estuarial authority for the Shannon region, especially in view of his statement at a public meeting in Ballybunion in May 1984.

The proposal to establish a Shannon ports authority is one of major importance which requires careful consideration. This process has taken longer than originally anticipated. The Minister personally has consulted with all the main interests in the region and this has been of great assistance to him. The Government have now decided to introduce legislation providing for the establishment of a Shannon ports authority and the necessary Bill is at present being drafted by the parliamentary draftsman. It is expected that the Bill will be ready for circulation during the Christmas recess.

May I take it that the Bill will definitely be circulated during the recess? It must be remembered that the Bill was promised by the Minister for Communications at a public meeting in Ballybunion in May 1984.

Many consultations took place about this matter. The Bill is being drafted by the parliamentary draftsman and it is expected that it will be ready for circulation during the recess.

Is the Minister of State aware that the Bill was mentioned by the Minister, Deputy Mitchell, in the House in connection with the development of the port of Dublin? In the last paragraph of his speech the Minister dealt with this matter and I should like to know what kind of multifaceted Bill will cover Dublin port, the development of the Custom House dock site, and an estuarine authority for Shannon.

The Deputy should await the publication of the Bill.

My question arises directly from Deputy Foley's question. Is it a fact that it is linked to the Bill dealing with the Dublin port and the development of the Custom House dock site and, if so, how?

Without going into the details of the Bill I can tell the Deputy that it is mainly a Shannon port authority Bill, but there is some facility there for application to the larger ports as regards the type of authority to apply to ports such as Dublin and Cork.

Will the development of the docks area in Dublin be catered for by the Bill which will cater for the Shannon area?

No. My understanding is that it will not have anything to do with that. It is a facility which can deal with the type of authority to control the larger ports.

Is the Minister of State aware that written in longhand in the last paragraph of the Minister's speech was the indication that the Shannon Bill was in preparation and that it would be used in some connection with the development of the Dublin port?

The Minister intends to take advantage of the legislation to provide for an extension by regulation of a two-tier management structure to the harbours of Dublin, Cork and Waterford.

In the composition of the board set up for the Shannon Estuary is it possible to give a commitment that the counties involved will have equal representation?

The Deputy should wait until he sees the provisions in the Bill. There will be ample opportunity to discusss them later.