Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (424)

Richard Bruton

Question:

565 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position on the proposal to establish a national marine conservation centre, as put forward by the Irish Seal Sanctuary; if there is a commitment to provide either once-off seed funding or ongoing funding to support this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25017/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

Given my Department's limited resources for wildlife conservation and protection, it is necessary to target grant assistance towards projects which will fulfil our obligations under EU directives, maximise conservation benefits and address the overall protection of threatened and vulnerable species and habitats.

There is an abundant population of seals in Irish waters and the seal species are not threatened in conservation terms. Accordingly I regret that funding of the Irish Seal Sanctuary by my Department cannot be prioritised at this time.