Written Answers. - Verolme (Cork) Dockyard.

Proinsias De Rossa

Question:

66 Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for the Marine the plans, if any, he has for the development and upgrading of Verolme Dockyard, Cork; if he has had discussions, or plans to have discussions, with the owners of the yard regarding a possible role in the development of the marine and related areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

As I advised the house on 23 February, Cork Dockyard was purchased by Damen Shipyards in 1990. The yard has carried out dry-docking, refit and repair work on a number of Irish vessels during this period.

Progress in expanding the Dockyard's operations and employment content has been greatly inhibited, however, by the general downturn in world economic performance and the related slump in demand for shipbuilding and ship repair.

Damen Shipyards are, nevertheless, confident that when an upturn in demand for repair and construction occurs, Cork Dockyard will be well placed to expand its operations and employment content. In the meantime, the company, in consultation with the IDA, is examining various other engineering sectors in which the yard could compete.

I have asked the Department to review with the company and the IDA current operations and future plans with a view to assisting, where possible, the process of identifying new areas of development.