Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Ceisteanna (498)

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

615 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his policy regarding a proposed merger of the Dublin Port Company and the Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company; the initiatives which have been taken by his Department concerning such a merger; the rationale for such a merger; the person or company who has been consulted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2209/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources)

I have no proposals at present to merge Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company and Dublin Port Company. In May 2003, I published the high level review of the State commercial ports operating under the Harbours Acts 1996 and 2000. The purpose of the review was to critically review the current model for the governance of the port companies.

Among its many findings and recommendations, the review noted that there is a conflict between the commercial and heritage obligations of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company. The review recommended that responsibility for the cultural and heritage aspects should be transferred to Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and that consideration be given, on commercial and economic grounds, to merging Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company and Dublin Port Company to become Dublin Bay Company.

When I published the review, I also initiated a full public consultation process on its findings and recommendations. In response, my Department has received submissions from a number of parties, including the two port companies concerned, and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council. All submissions are receiving careful consideration by my Department. It is my intention to publish a comprehensive policy statement over the coming months, drawing on the review and the subsequent consultation process.