Wednesday, 28 March 1962
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Corish: asked the Minister for Transport and Power whether, further to the information given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance in an interview to the press on 23rd March on the subject of the prospects of importing ore to Europe through the Shannon Estuary, his Department have made any similar investigations as to the prospects of importing oil through the Shannon Estuary.
Mr. Sweetman: asked the Minister for Transport and Power whether he will publish the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Shannon estuary port proposal to which he made a reference at Column 630 on the 19th April 1961; and whether the Government as indicated in that reply requested and obtained further information from the proposers in reference thereto.
Mr. Sweetman: asked the Minister for Transport and Power the full names and qualifications of the persons who made the report on the Shannon estuary plan; if he will place a copy of such report in the Oireachtas Library and furnish a copy to any Member requiring it; if he will state the cost of the preparation of such report and of the investigations leading thereto; and whether it is correct that this investigation was carried out at the request of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance.
The information given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance arose from inquiries I caused to be made into a specific claim by a correspondent of his that there was a degree of congestion at certain North European Ports which might warrant the development of a trans-shipment port on the Shannon Estuary. The information was contained in a letter addressed by me to the Parliamentary Secretary and was compiled in the ordinary course of my Department's work, being based on an examination already made in my Department supplemented by local enquiries which our Ambassador at the Hague was asked to make. No cost was incurred.
The prospects of oil being transshipped at Shannon Estuary were explored some years ago and the results were given to the Dáil by the Taoiseach, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, on 18th June, 1958 (Cols. 311-313 of the Official Debates). There has been no change since of which I am aware, which would affect the prospects for oil.
In regard to the Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the proposals of the Shannon Estuary Co. Ltd. and Government action thereon I would refer Deputies to the very full reply given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce on the 19th July 1961. It is not the practice to publish the reports made to Ministers by Inter-Departmental Committees, especially when, as in this case, they deal with the affairs of a private company.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Is No. 47 included in this? It does not appear that the Minister's reply gave the information sought in the first part of No. 47— the full names and qualifications of the persons making the report.
Mr. Childers: It was just the officers of my Department who are concerned with harbour development. No exceptional person made any special report because of the particular suggestion that the previous information was not entirely accurate, that there were factors not examined.
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