Written Answers. - Harbours and Piers.

Michael Ring

Question:

224 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will give details of the contact or meetings which have taken place between his Department and the Harbour Board Commissioners in relation to the proposed development at Westport Harbour and the marina. [2945/03]

As the Deputy is aware Westport Harbour Commissioners have lodged an application for grant aid under the seaports measure of the National Development Plan 2000-06 in respect of certain developments under their integrated development plan. I am informed that on the 20 February 2002 officials from the maritime transport division of my Department met representatives from Westport Harbour Commissioners and Mayo County Council to discuss the proposed development at Westport Harbour.

I am further advised that officials from my Department have been in regular contact with officials from Mayo County Council who, in conjunction with Westport Harbour Commissioners, are responsible for the administration of the proposed development at Westport Harbour in line with the integrated development plan for the harbour.

In December 2001 Westport Harbour Commissioners applied to my Department for funding for a feasibility study to examine the potential for a marina at Westport Harbour. The completed feasibility study for the marina project was received from Mayo County Council in February 2002. Funding of €25,500 towards the cost of the study was paid to Mayo County Council in November 2002. In a letter submitted with the study, Mayo County Council indicated that the cost of phase 1 of the marina development was €3.6 million.
The Department informed the applicants that any application for funding for the proposed marina should be made through the marine tourism grant scheme and applicants were forwarded the necessary application form and guidelines for the scheme. The Department also confirmed that the application must be submitted and processed in accordance with the guidelines for the scheme.
In March 2002, Mayo County Council in association with Westport Town Council and Westport Harbour Commissioners submitted an application for funding under the marine tourism grant scheme of the national development plan for the proposed marina, 46 berths. However, as the applicants had not obtained the necessary statutory permissions, i.e. planning permission and foreshore lease, as required under the conditions for the scheme, their application could not be considered further. The applicants were informed of this and that they could apply for funding under a future call following the receipt of the required permissions.
At a meeting with Westport Harbour Commissioners in November 2002, I outlined the position in relation to funding for the marina project. In December 2002, the applicants were formally notified that because of the Revised Estimates for 2003 which included major adjustments in marine spending that no additional funds would be available for 2003 for marine infrastructure projects under the NDP marine tourism grant scheme.
Question No. 225 answered with Question No. 220.