Wednesday, 23 June 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
18. Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources his views on the development plan for Killybegs produced by Killybegs Offshore Services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16014/99]
Dr. Woods: I am firmly committed to the development of new infrastructure and facilities at Killybegs to service the needs of the fishing industry and to support potential new commercial opportunities for the port and the north-west region.
In addition to providing £1.5 million this year for essential remedial works at the existing piers, I have provided more than £800,000 for site investigations and survey work in connection with the provision of new berthage facilities outside the existing harbour. The results of these ongoing technical investigations will directly inform decisions on the location, scale and timeframe for completion of the new harbour development.
The feasibility study commissioned by Killybegs Offshore Services sets out a wideranging investment plan of up to £40 million for the port. It is focused primarily on new services for the fishing sector, commercial shipping traffic and potential opportunities which may arise in servicing the offshore exploration industry. The proposals include land reclamation, the provision of deep water non-tidal berthage and the development of an enterprise park.
I will have further consultations in the near future with the Killybegs Offshore Services group, the Killybegs fishing and processing industry and other port users on my plans for new berthage development and on progressing the range of other development proposals for Killybegs. I will also pursue the medium to long-term investment needs of Killybegs and its hinterland with Government colleagues in the context of the National Development Plan 2000-06.
Mr. Bell: On 11 June, the marine correspondent of The Irish Times, writing on these developments, stated that a group of entrepreneurs wanted Killybegs to become the Aberdeen of the north-west. Is the Minister satisfied that the natural resources, which will I hope derive from drill ing and development, will not find their way to Aberdeen, rather than Donegal and the west coast? Is he satisfied that he and his Department have sufficient control over these matters to ensure maximum benefit for the Irish nation?
Dr. Woods: All of the interested parties want to see development taking place within Ireland. We are currently dealing with exploration and appraisal wells. Developments are ongoing in Killybegs. Hence, the desire that the port be further developed. A report, undertaken by Coopers and Lybrand, set out a potential development scheme for the port. I strongly support those proposals. We want to make use of the port for exploration purposes and, in the event of any substantial finds, we want to ensure the bulk of the work will come into Irish ports.
Mr. Finucane: I assume the Minister has held discussions with Mr. McGoldrick of Enterprise Oil to the effect that if the gas find is successful, it will not end up in Scotland in which the necessary infrastructure is in place. To what degree will the Minister avail of private-public partnerships to sustain a development in Killybegs which will cost in the region of £20 million? Given the type of funding available, it is not possible to sustain that type of investment.
Dr. Woods: I invited interested parties in Killybegs to consider the possibility of private-public investment. To date, there is nothing very positive to report on that. An assistant secretary in my Department is currently pursuing possibilities in that area. One way or another, I envisage considerable development occurring in Killybegs.
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