I propose to take Questions Nos. 27 and 30 together.
The Curragh plains are an important working facility for the Defence Forces, the horse racing industry and sheep owners who avail of long established rights of pasture. As both a working environment and a high value amenity of ecological importance, I am keenly aware of the multiple challenges facing my Department in ensuring the ongoing management of the plains.
My Department recently met with Kildare County Council to explore issues centred around the development of a collaborative consultancy study with Kildare County Council to examine the current land management arrangements for the Curragh plains and provide recommendations for their protection and future development. It is envisaged that the study would be carried out over a two year period. This matter is under active consideration in my Department.
Naturally, any such examination concerning the future of the Curragh plains must ensure that account is taken of the prime importance placed on the use of the area by the Irish Defence Forces and of the needs of the centrally located Defence Forces Training Centre.