Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Maritime Transport Development.


asked the Minister for Tourism and Transport if, against the background of the completion of the Single European Market, he will indicate his Department's plans for the development of the maritime transport sector especially in respect of Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Rosslare.

The development of the maritime transport sector and of the ports mentioned, with the exception of Rosslare, is the responsibility of the Minister for the Marine.

As regards Rosslare, I am informed by Córas Iompair Éireann, who operate the port, that their present development programme at the harbour will be completed in time for the 1989 tourist season. The programme includes a new passenger terminal building, a customs clearance building and coach hall, a new rail platform, covered walkways between ships' sides on the pier and the terminal building, the reclamation of 6.5 acres from the sea for vehicle parking and the erection of a new breakwater. These facilities will ensure that the terminal compares very favourably with those at other leading European roll-on/roll-off ports.

Plans are being drawn up by CIE for further major developments at the harbour and I expect to receive them shortly. Developments at Rosslare in the light of those proposals will be submitted for consideration for assistance from the European Community Structural Funds in the context of the completion of the Single European Market.

I am disappointed that the Minister did not answer the question as put to him. An information leaflet issued by his Department dealing with the deregulation of transport in the Single European Market referred to the essence of the question I put down. Is the Minister not aware that as we speak Irish industrialists in the South are totally disadvantagedvis-à-vis their Northern counterparts to the extent of 16 per cent and that is even before the channel tunnel is completed or, indeed, the introduction of the TGV high speed trains which are proposed to travel in Europe at speeds in excess of 200 kilometres per hour? Would the Minister inform me if he is in support of the EC Transport Infrastructural Fund which Transport Ministers hope to set up in Europe, with a budget of approximately £485 million? Will the Rosslare project be funded from that proposed EC transport infrastructural fund?

The latter point is quite a complicated one and I will take it first. In the European Council there are some very strong objectors to any separate transport infrastructural fund. The result has been that for a number of years certain funding has been available on anad hoc basis for transport infrastructure. As the Deputy mentioned, we are fully in support of a transport infrastructural fund but we have not been able to win a case in the Council because some people are totally opposed to such a fund. With regard to the Deputy's reference to the substance of my reply, I want to point out that I replied accurately to the question in so far as it refers to my Department.

Has the Minister communicated with his colleague, the Minister for the Marine, in regard to the development of the ports which I mentioned and, if so, what is the outcome of those discussion? Will the ports be developed, as Rosslare is proposed to be developed?

The Deputy will have to put down a question to the Minister for the Marine to get an answer on the matters that come under his responsibility.

Does this problem that arises whereby the Minister cannot answer questions about transport because another Minister is involved in another part of it not point to the fact which was mentioned here before that there is need for a proper inter-departmental ministerial committee to work on a transport policy? The Minister has told this House already that he was having informal talks but now he cannot answer questions from Deputy Griffin and this is very unsatisfactory for all the Deputies in the House.

It is clear that the matters appertaining to Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Limerick are the responsibility of another Minister.

They are transport matters.

They are not the responsibility of the Minister in possession at the moment.

But they are transport matters.

That may be so. A final supplementary, Deputy Griffin.

The Minister's office checked with me about this question and I indicated to them exactly what I had in mind. I understood from them that the Minister was going to give a full, comprehensive reply to my question in respect of each of the mentioned ports in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Limerick.

With respect, and no offence meant, the Deputy should address his questions to where the responsibility lies, to the Minister whose Estimates cover the actual areas concerned. I have replied specifically to the part of the question that comes under my Department.

It is a nonsense.