Written Answers. - Offshore Islands.

Michael Ring

Question:

480 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands the position regarding the provision of a cable car for Inishbiggle Island, County Mayo. [7411/01]

Michael Ring

Question:

481 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands when she hopes construction of the cable car for Inishbiggle Island, County Mayo, will commence. [7412/01]

Michael Ring

Question:

482 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands when she hopes the cable car for Inishbiggle Island, County Mayo, will be fully operational. [7413/01]

Michael Ring

Question:

483 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands the funding which has been sanctioned to date for the provision of a cable car for Innishbiggle Island, County Mayo; and the total project costs. [7414/01]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 480 to 483, inclusive, together.

In July 2000, a grant of £1.45 million was approved by my predecessor to Mayo County Council for the provision of a cable car and associated services between Inishbiggle and the mainland at Béal an Bhulláin. This grant was based on a total estimated construction cost of £1.6 million with Mayo County Council to provide the balance of £150,000.

While it was hoped that construction of the cable car would have commenced in the spring of 2002 and that the service would be fully operational by the spring of 2003, it is now understood that an objection has been lodged against one of the compulsory purchase orders in respect of land required for the project and that it will, therefore, be necessary for An Bord Pleanála to arrange a public hearing on the issue prior to giving a decision on the said objection. I understand that Mayo County Council is currently awaiting receipt of a date for this hearing from An Bord Pleanála. However, it should be noted that no hearings are being arranged at present in the light of the ongoing foot and mouth crisis.