Thursday, 15 June 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
32. Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the proportion of EU waters which belonged to the Irish State before May 2004, the EU of 15 member states; and the proportion since May 2004, the EU of 25 member states. [23221/06]
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): On the basis of information supplied to my Department by the Department of Communications, the Marine and Natural Resources, I can inform the Deputy that Ireland’s waters extend to approximately 125,000 square nautical miles. Figures for the European Union as a whole, either before or after enlargement on 1 May 2004, are unfortunately not available from the European Commission. It is therefore not possible, at the present time, to say what proportion of EU waters belonged to the Irish State either before 1 May 2004 or subsequently.
The Deputy may wish to be aware that Ireland’s waters consist of a territorial sea and, beyond the limits of the territorial sea, two distinct legal zones or jurisdictions, known as the “contiguous zone” and the “exclusive economic zone”. These legal zones partly overlap each other physically.
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