Written Answers. - Offshore Islands.

Michael Ring

Question:

438 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the cable car project for Inishbiggle Island, County Mayo; the progress that has been made; when the cable car will be in operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11012/03]

In July 2000, I approved a grant of €1.84 million to Mayo County Council for the provision of a cable car and associated services between Inishbiggle and the mainland at Bullsmouth. This grant was based on a total estimated construction cost of €2.03 million with Mayo County Council to provide the balance of €0.19 million.

It was hoped that construction of the cable car would have commenced in 2002 and that the service would be fully operational by the spring of this year. However, a delay was incurred as a result of an objection lodged with An Bord Pleanála against one of the compulsory purchase orders in respect of the land required for the project. While An Bord Pleanála subsequently confirmed the said compulsory purchase orders, this decision is currently the subject of a judicial review which is listed to be heard in the High Court on 12 May 2003.
Independently of the judicial review process, efforts to resolve this issue by the solicitors representing the judicial review applicant and those representing Mayo County Council have been ongoing for some time now. Arising from these efforts, Mayo County Council recently submitted to my Department for approval a proposal aimed at resolving the issue to the satisfaction of both parties. This proposal is currently being examined by my officials and I expect to be in a position to make a decision on it shortly.
Questions Nos. 439 and 440 answered with Question No. 423.