Wednesday, 24 November 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
52. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Dublin Corporation has set a critical path analysis of the project plan required to conduct a breaching of the causeway at Bull Island; the steps he envisages as necessary before this project can be approved; if he will indicate his support, in principle, for the project, subject to the necessary environmental impact assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24715/99]
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Dr. Woods): I am aware that the issue was discussed by the north central area committee of Dublin City Council and that the council instructed the city manager to commence the study, originally recommended for 2001, immediately. Before the operation can commence the corporation will be required to obtain a foreshore lease from me. This will involve the corporation submitting an application for the proposed development of a breach together with detailed plans of the proposed works and an environmental impact statement. My Department will consider the impact of the proposed works on fishing, navigation, the environment generally, other users of the foreshore, etc. and the matter will then go to public consultation. The corporation will be afforded an opportunity to respond to any submissions received as a result of the public consultation process and I will consider the matter in the light of the submissions made, the corporation's response to them and my Department's views on both the submissions and the Corporation's response to them. I will, after careful consideration, make my decision in the matter.
The Deputy will be aware that Dúchas has obli gations under European law to protect certain species of wildlife. In compliance with its obligations it is required to designate certain areas as special protection areas. I understand the position of Dublin Bay is being considered by Dúchas in this context and it would be appropriate for the corporation to consult with that body at an early date to ensure any proposals which it may put forward will not conflict with the legal obligations imposed on Dúchas. Any foreshore licence which I might issue would have to be subject to the corporation complying with any instruction which Dúchas might give relating to maintenance of the integrity of special protection areas.
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