Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Questions (89)

Finian McGrath


89. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of plans for Howth Harbour in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9058/16]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Howth Fishery Harbour Centre is one of the six designated Fishery Harbour Centres which are owned, managed and maintained by my Department under Statute.

While first and foremost a working fishery harbour, Howth, similar to the other five Fishery Harbour Centres, has its own unique features and is home to a broad range of diverse economic and social activities.

My Department is conscious of the importance of both fishing and non-fishing activities in Howth and endeavours to facilitate and develop both. This involves day to day operational support by Harbour staff and management and development and repair of infrastructure subject to available financial resources. I am happy to advise the Deputy that, notwithstanding the prevailing economic environment in which we operate, in excess of €5.9 million has been invested in maintenance, development and upgrading works at Howth FHC as part of my Department’s Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme from 2011 to 2015.

On 11th January I announced funding of €1.45 million for capital projects at Howth Fishery Harbour Centre during 2016; in addition I have set aside €420,000 for safety and maintenance, disability access and contractual commitments accruing from 2015. Significant works in this year’s programme include the continued upgrading of the electrical system, provision of pontoons to west pier for ferry landings and traffic management works. Of importance in the context of a possible future dredging project at Howth is the allocation of €100,000 for the preparation of a Dumping at Sea Licence which will be required before any dredging project could commence.

A draft report from a €150,000 site investigation project which was commissioned in 2015 was received in March 2016. The draft report is being assessed by the Department’s engineers. This report includes vital information on the nature of the material to be dredged in any future dredging project. This information is necessary for the preparation of the Dumping at Sea licence which will be submitted to the EPA in due course. Depending on the outcome of this process Dredging Works will be considered subject to available funding.

As the Deputy is aware, all developments in the six Fishery Harbour Centres, including a possible future dredging project at Howth Fishery Harbour Centre will be considered under future Capital Programmes on the basis of available exchequer funding and competing priorities.