Thursday, 19 February 1998
Dáil Éireann Debate
93. Mr. Daly asked the Minister for Finance if he will give details of submissions made by Clare County Council or the Mid-West Regional Development Organisation for areas in County Clare in relation to the national development plan seeking funding for projects from the regional development fund, the social fund, the Cohesion Fund or any other EU funding; and the progress in advancing the projects concerned. [4415/98]
Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The Mid-West Subregional Review Committee's submission to my Department in respect of the National Development Plan 1994-99 did not give Clare County Council's full submission nor did it contain any mention of a submission from the Mid-West Regional Development Organisation. Relevant extracts from the subregional review committee's submission as they relate to Clare County Council's submission are reproduced as follows.
The Mid-West Subregional Review Committee's submission together with the submissions from the other subregional review committees, Government Departments, the sectoral interests and social partners were taken into account by my Department in drawing up the national development plan. The plan provided the basis for negotiating the Community Support Framework for Ireland 1994-99 with the European Commission. The plan and the CSF set out the overall priorities and strategy for the utilisation of structural funds in Ireland. The operational programmes for the various sectors were agreed with the European Commission by the relevant lead Departments on the basis of the strategic priorities and financial allocations agreed in the CSF. The inclusion in the first instance of individual projects from Clare County Council or others and, the progress of such projects where they have been included, would be a matter for the implementing departments and agencies for the operational programmes.
This submission identified a strategy for tourism development within the county. This strategy would include improved access; upgrade role of Shannon Airport; adequate water and sewerage facilities; attractive tourist products. It proposed several measures including: the upgrading of county roads; provision of water and sewerage schemes; development of water based facility on west coast; provision of visitor facilities — Cliffs  of Moher; holiday centres; access to waterways; network of outdoor activities; indoor water-based facility — Lough Derg; access to beaches; coastal management plan and additional golf courses.
It also proposed action areas for development e.g. Lough Derg, the Burren, coastal zone, the Shannon estuary. The submission highlighted the importance of adequate roads and outlined essential improvements to tourist roads — national secondary routes — required expenditure £50 million, regional and county routes — required expenditure £83.4 million.
This detailed submission outlines the general policy of the council as being the provision of an adequate infrastructural base which helps to encourage and direct the economic growth and social and cultural well being of the county in a rational and organised manner. The policy aims at realising the county's full potential while protecting the character and enhancing the quality of the environment.
Clare County Council proposes that its general policy is to provide an adequate infrastructural base and to encourage and direct the economic growth and social and cultural well-being of the county. The council describes the provision of roads as one of their principal functions within the considerations of Structural Funds. The road network is outlined in two ways, both functional and tourist oriented: the route from Rosslare to Limerick-Ennis-Galway to be upgraded to Euroroute status and the necessary improvements carried out before the year 2000. This route is described as a strategic route for both the Mid-West and the West of Ireland; strategic county roads to receive priority for upgrading-improvements; special strengthening grants required for bridge improvements as well as important regional and county roads.
Clare County Council as a maritime county is affiliated to the National Coastal Erosion Committee set up in August 1991 to examine this issue. The responsibility for Ireland's coastline is somewhat fragmented with physical planning being the responsibility of the local authorities under the Department of the Environment. Designated areas of scientific interest are now the responsibility of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Office of Public Works with an input from the Department of the Marine in the case of coastal areas. As a result an inadequate financial structure exists and local authorities find themselves unable to respond with preventative measures to protect the coastline. Recent policy  has been for the Department of the Environment to provide 50 per cent of the coast of specific schemes with the remainder of the cost to be found locally. The setting up of a single agency is recommended to take a lead role in managing the coast, which would be entitled the National Coastal Authority and would be located either within the Department of the Environment or the Department of the Marine.
Coastal erosion in Ireland is perceived as a serious issue affecting coastal roads, agricultural land and tourism infrastructure. A strong case is proposed for the funding of coastal protection works from Structural Funds during the period 1994-97.”
|Last Updated: 21/05/2011 01:02:31||Page of 131|