Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (491)

Martin Ferris


607 Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reasons for the sale of part of the north dock of Waterford harbour to private developers, which will mean that fishermen with berths there will have to move; and if this decision to privatise part of the harbour has the approval of his Department. [1866/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

The Port of Waterford Company operates under the Harbours Acts 1996 and 2000. Under the Acts, the primary function of the company is the management, control, operation and development of its harbour ensuring that its revenues are sufficient to meet its expenditures. In the light of this statutory requirement the company informs me that it has been conducting a review of its non-core assets to determine the appropriateness of their retention in present circumstances.

The company now provides its core facilities for ships and goods at Belview, County Kilkenny. Accordingly, the property at the North Quays is one of the company's principal non-core assets and I am informed that the company is taking the preparatory steps necessary in order to be in a position to offer the property for sale.

Under the Harbours Acts, a decision to dispose of land shall only be made by the directors of the company and they are obliged to ensure that the consideration for which any land is sold shall, in so far as is practicable, not be less than its open market value. A decision by the directors to dispose of land does not require my approval under the legislation.

I am aware of the concerns of fishermen who have been using the North Quays regarding these developments. Discussions are in train regarding alternative accommodation, in the short and long term.