asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he has received any proposal from Bord Fáilte Éireann for the acquisition and operation by the Board as a tourist attraction of the Howth tramway service; and, if so, whether the necessary licence to operate the service will be granted by him.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Howth Tramway Service.
I have not received such a proposal. The operation of a service of this kind would be outside the statutory functions of Bord Fáilte Éireann.
May I inquire whether the Minister is aware that this tramway constituted a very important and unique tourist attraction in the area and that, apart altogether from its utility value to the residents, its cessation will be a very great loss to the tourist industry?
The C.I.E. decision does not require my confirmation. I would express grave doubts about the value of an attraction which involved not merely a substantial loss of money every year, but also could be continued only by the outlay of a very heavy capital sum upon the renovation of the permanent way.
Would the Minister be prepared to indicate the respective figures involved?
In the last few years, the losses averaged about £12,000 a year. The estimated cost of repairing the permamnent way would be something in the region of £130,000.