Tuesday, 24 February 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
164. Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the report that a study carried out on behalf of the Corrib gas field developers showing that Broadhaven Bay, a candidate special area of conservation, was a significant breeding and rearing area for whales and dolphins; if his attention has further been drawn to the fact that the report was only made available to Dúchas ten months after its completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5879/04]
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): The study of Broadhaven Bay referred to by the Deputy of which I have now received a copy was commissioned by the developers of the proposed Corrib gas field. It was carried out over the period August 2001 to October 2002 and the final report of the study was completed in March 2003. My Department and the environmental monitoring group, EMG, for the Corrib gas field development were informed of this work.
To date a small amount of development work has taken place in the bay in the period to September 2002 and this was done in full consultation with the heritage service of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and with the agreement of my Department. The full results of this recent study will no doubt be used by the company to guide them and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in making further decisions on the processes to be adopted for the installation of the offshore pipeline.
165. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will make a statement on the formal request to Ireland by the EU requiring the Government to prepare anti-pollution programmes for waters designated for shellfish in accordance with the shellfish water directive and on the possibility that the EU Commission may refer Ireland to the Court of Justice on this matter. [5864/04]
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. D. Ahern): My Department is currently addressing a number of issues in regard to the findings of the European Court of Justice, on 11 September 2003, against Ireland in relation to implementation of obligations under Council Directive 79/923/EEC on the quality of shellfish waters.
The Department, working closely with an Bord Iascaigh Mhara, BIM, and the Marine Institute, has been progressing the work involved as a matter of priority. The process is being underpinned through ongoing consultation with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
BIM and the institute were tasked with drafting anti-pollution programmes for the designated areas, in consultation with relevant local authorities, and I am pleased to inform the Deputy that this process is substantially complete.
In this regard, a formal response, detailing the significant progress already made in this matter, issued to the European Commission on 30 January 2004, in reply to the Commission’s inquiry for an update on the situation.
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