I thank the Deputy for his question. The Harbours Bill 2015 was published on 1 July and Oireachtas debates on the Bill have commenced with Committee Stage scheduled for this morning, 11 November, which I will be taking. The Bill will provide the legislative basis for one of the national ports policy's key recommendations, namely, that governance of the designated ports of regional significance should vest in more appropriate local authority led governance structures. As the Deputy is aware, Dún Laoghaire is one of these five ports of regional significance.
The Bill is designed to provide maximum legislative flexibility. It will not prescribe the model of transfer for any of the five ports, including Dún Laoghaire. Instead, the Bill will allow for the most appropriate model of governance to be chosen in respect of each individual company. The two possible models of transfer provided in the Bill are retention of the existing company structure and transfer of the ministerial shareholding in the company to the local authority and dissolution of the existing company structure and transfer of all assets, liabilities and employees into local authority structures, where the port will be administered as a functional area of the local authority. The manner of transfer selected in each case will be the one that finds broad consensus and agreement between the parties. However, it should be made clear that ultimately the decision is mine, as Minister.
Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council have established an engagement team to discuss the practical issues associated with the transfer and consultants have been appointed to undertake a due diligence process, with the funding support of the Department. This exercise may assist in the decision as to the most suitable model of transfer.