Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dún Laoghaire Car Ferry Service.

11.

asked the Minister for Transport and Power if he is aware of the concern felt by a number of persons that the proposed car ferry terminal at Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, will interefere with the amenities there; if he will ensure that the location of the terminal and the development work will be so carried out as to safeguard these amenities and if he will make a statement on the matter.

12.

asked the Minister for Transport and Power if his attention has been drawn to continued protests at the selection of the East Pier, and St. Michael's Wharf, Dún Laoghaire, for the siting of the car ferry terminal; and whether he is prepared to postpone his decision for a period of six months to further investigate the possibilities of the siting at Trader's Wharf, as suggested by the objectors to the present site.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 12 together.

A final decision to site the permanent terminal facilities for the car ferry service at St. Michael's Wharf was taken in April, 1964, after full consideration of the views of all interests then concerned. This site was chosen to obviate interference with local amenities by the erection of the terminal at the East Pier which was the best site from the navigational and engineering points of view. There was full consultation in the matter with Dún Laoghaire Corporation and the decision was supported by that body.

The facilities at the East Pier are temporary and are necessary to provide for the commencement of the service next July. I have already given an undertaking that the East Pier will be restored to its original condition as quickly as possible.

The siting of the terminal at Trader's Wharf was also considered but as this site is very exposed to swells from the directions North to East protective works would very probably be necessary. The nature and cost of such works would only be determined by prolonged hydraulic investigation probably involving the construction of a model. Deepening of the harbour would also be necessary and the provision of the extensive areas required for a terminal would be difficult and costly. There would also be operating difficulties because of the distance from the existing facilities at Carlisle Pier and Dún Laoghaire Railway Station.

The position, therefore, is that a detailed examination of the possibility of siting the terminal at Trader's Wharf would involve several years delay in the provision of the terminal; the cost could not now be determined but would very probably be substantially higher, even excessive; and there could be no assurance, at this stage, that British Railways would be prepared to use a terminal at this site.

In the meantime the provision of a permanent terminal is a matter of urgency not only to permit the reversion of the East Pier to public use but to ensure the full and rapid development of the important new ferry service.

In all the circumstances, I cannot see my way to alter the decision to build the permanent terminal at St. Michael's Wharf which was taken after the fullest consideration and in consultation with the local authorities and other interests then concerned.

Can the Minister say if adequate precautions can be taken to ensure that when the present terminal is sited, it will not interfere with the amenities there?

Speaking from a personal point of view, the preservation of the tourist amenities at the West Pier is a matter of interest to everybody and the siting of the pier at St. Michael's Wharf concentrates the whole of the transport arrangements in one area where there is already a pier, transport lines and a railway station.