Thursday, 8 October 2020

Ceisteanna (321)

Darren O'Rourke


321. Deputy Darren O'Rourke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to continue to work with Donegal County Council and Foyle Port on their proposals to develop the Greencastle Harbour; if he has spoken with his counterpart in the Stormont Executive regarding collaboration in terms of developing Lough Foyle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29303/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department owns, operates and maintains six designated State-owned Fishery Harbour Centres, located at Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East, Howth, Killybegs and Ros An Mhíl under statute. In addition, my Department also has responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of North Harbour at Cape Clear, as well as the maintenance of a small number of specific piers, lights and beacons throughout Ireland, in accordance with the Marine Works (Ireland) Act 1902, and piers, lights and beacons constructed under the auspices of the Congested Districts Board. My Department’s legislative remit does not extend to the development of Lough Foyle.

Greencastle Harbour is owned by Donegal County Council and responsibility for its maintenance and development rests with that Local Authority in the first instance and its parent Department, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage thereafter.

My Department co-funded and project managed works on phase one of a larger Greencastle Harbour Development project up to 2011, which involved the construction of a rock breakwater. Phase one of this project was jointly funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Donegal County Council. The agreed funding breakdown was: 75% to be paid by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 12.5% to be paid by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and 12.5% to be paid by Donegal County Council.

€8.35m was invested in this project between the years 2006 – 2010. Funding for capital projects was, of necessity, significantly reduced due to the economic conditions prevalent in 2010. Funding of €453,000 was provided for in my Department’s 2011 capital programme to enable the Department to suspend the project in a safe and acceptable manner. In February 2012, my Department formally handed back responsibility for the Greencastle Harbour Development project to Donegal County Council, following completion of works to safeguard the partially constructed breakwater.

My Department continues to provide funding to assist the 14 coastal Local Authorities, including Donegal County Council, in carrying out small scale projects for the development and repair of Local Authority owned piers, harbours and slipways under the annual Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, subject to available Exchequer funding and overall national priorities. Since 2010, Donegal County Council has received funding of € 3.1m under this programme, with €335k of this allocated for works at Greencastle Harbour.

Funding of €3.1m has been approved for the Local Authority element of my Department’s 2020 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme. Donegal County Council has secured funding of €433,500 under this programme, to undertake 7 Harbour Development and 4 Marine Leisure projects. Of this funding, €90,000 has been allocated to repair works at Greencastle Harbour.

I am currently examining all aspects of my Department’s Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, including planning for future programmes. I am considering the Greencastle breakwater project in that context.

Any decision on the make-up of future capital programmes will only be considered on the basis of available exchequer funding and competing national priorities.