Written Answers. - Departmental Funding.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

493 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage Gaeltacht and the Islands if she will consider providing funding to the Irish Seal Sanctuary for the undoubted good work undertaken by this group on a voluntary basis for the protection of vulnerable seals on our coastline; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7724/01]

The Deputy will be aware that my responsibility under the Wildlife Acts is to protect seals and other mammals to ensure the conservation of the species as a whole. The care of individual seals is an animal welfare matter for which I have no function under the Wildlife Acts.

The activities of the Irish Seal Sanctuary is primarily of a welfare nature, involves the rehabilitation of individual seals and, as such, does not come within the remit of my Department. While I recognise the continuing excellence of the work carried out by the Irish Seal Sanctuary, from a conservation point of view the work does not impact significantly on overall seal numbers.

There are no plans, therefore, by my Department to make provision for the funding of the Irish Seal Sanctuary.