Tuesday, 23 May 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
301. Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will meet with a deputation from the Dingle Harbour Commissioners to put a plan in place for the future of the harbour. [19234/06]
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Browne): The Department has met with Dingle Harbour Commissioners on a number of occasions in the past to discuss issues relating to the harbour and would have no difficulty in meeting them in the future.
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Browne): The Department is currently preparing to carry out due diligence in relation to Dingle Harbour with a view to finalising the decision on the designation of Dingle Harbour as a Fishery Harbour Centre.
Minister of State at the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Browne): There has been ongoing work on Dingle Harbour over the years, including dredging. As a result, a substantial pier berthage now exists, allowing berthage of larger draft vessels.
The next phase involves the deepening of the approach channel, to facilitate access and egress to the facility. In October 2004, the Department awarded a contract for geotechnical site investigation works and this work was completed in 2005. Archaeological investigation of the dredge area has also been completed.
A number of further studies are outstanding. These include a hydrodynamic study to investigate potential impacts of the proposed dredging operations, a radiological analysis of the dredge materials, chemical analysis and benthic studies, and investigation of a possible dumping at sea site. These studies are required in order to identify disposal options for the dredge materials and to progress application for the necessary statutory permits required for the project.
The cost of the project will depend on the outcome of the above studies in conjunction with detailed examination of the site investigation results and design of the dredging works. Funding for the project will be addressed in the context of the amount of Exchequer funding available for fishery harbours and overall national priorities.
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