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Other Questions. - Coastal Erosion.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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 33. Mr. Stanton Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton  asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey  if he has received a report dealing with coastal erosion in the Youghal area of County Cork; if so, the actions he plans to take as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3660/02]

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey Three evaluations by consultant engineers have been undertaken on behalf of Cork County Council since 1999 to assess the extent of coastal erosion at Youghal and to identify the most appropriate and cost-efficient coast protection solutions. The most recent report was completed last year and recommends a phased approach to addressing coastal erosion in the area commencing with the strengthening of the sea wall and the subsequent construction of groynes. My Department provided funding towards two of these reports and has assessed all three evaluations.

I allocated £20,000, €25,394.76, in 2001 to Youghal Urban District Council. I am advised that consultants have prepared the necessary tender documentation on behalf of the local authority and that planning and other statutory permissions are being progressed.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton Does the Minister agree it is bizarre that three reports have been carried out on this matter? On 24 March 1999 his predecessor told me that a detailed report was carried out by consulting engineers which concluded that coastal protection works involving the extension of groynes and beach nourishment were required at an estimated cost of £5.1 million. Nothing has happened since. We have had paralysis by analysis. Two more reports have been assessed by the [1478] Minister and his officials yet no real money has been made available. Nothing is happening while the beach is being washed away and terrible damage is being done. When does the Minister propose to initiate real action after four years?

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey I have not seen a figure of the magnitude suggested by the Deputy. Did he mention £5 million?

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton The Minister's predecessor stated the work would cost £5.1 million.

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey My figures suggest an estimated cost of about €1.2 million for the strengthening of the sea wall, incorporating an aesthetically designed retired flood wall. The subsequent groynes which are proposed are estimated to cost €3.4 million on a phased basis. It is considered that priority should be given to the strengthening of the sea wall. That is the basis on which the allocation is being made and the tender documents are being prepared.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton A sum of £20,000 has been made available for work which has not taken place and there is some money for consultants. However, no work has occurred on the ground after four years. The Minister does not seem to know about this detailed report which his predecessor had on 24 March 1999. I do not know how long the report was lying in the Department prior to that date, but does the Minister agree this is incompetence of the highest order and that action has to be taken? After four years it is not good enough that nothing has happened.

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey I do not know what the urgency is all about because this is the first time I have heard from the Deputy regarding this matter.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton That is not so.

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey As far as I am concerned the matter is with the local authority. I provided the money in 2001 and I am waiting for the various planning and tendering procedures to proceed.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton I raised this matter with the Minister on 10 May. This is not the first time I have done so.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon Please allow the Minister to respond and I will then call Deputy Sheehan.

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey This is the first time the Deputy has raised this matter during Question Time which is where his colleagues normally raise urgent matters.

Mr. Stanton: Information on David Stanton Zoom on David Stanton That is not so.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon Please allow the Minister to respond.

[1479]Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes The Minister should not try to mislead the House. He should admit he is wrong.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon We have gone over time and I wish to call Deputy Sheehan.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes On a point of order.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon I ask the Deputy to give way to Deputy Sheehan.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes The Minister made a statement which is verifiably wrong on the basis of the record of the House. The Chair should afford the Minister an opportunity to apologise.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon That is not a point of order. The Minister was on his feet. I call Deputy Sheehan.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes The Minister made a statement which is verifiably wrong and he should apologise.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon We must move on to the next question. Deputy Sheehan has been patient all afternoon.

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey I do not wish to mislead the House.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes Then the Minister should stop telling lies.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon I ask the Deputy to withdraw the term “telling lies”.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes The Minister made a statement which is entirely at variance with the record of the House.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon I ask the Deputy to withdraw the term “telling lies”.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes I withdraw the term, but I ask the Minister to correct the untruth he told a few moments ago. He is not going to get away with this.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon The Deputy is being disorderly.

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey I am happy to clarify that this is the first occasion during Question Time on which Deputy Stanton raised this issue.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes That is not so.

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey If Deputy Stanton raised the matter by way of a written question, I was not aware of that.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes The Minister is wrong and he should be man enough to apologise.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon The Deputy will have to find another way of dealing with this matter.

[1480]Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey If Deputy Dukes is so pernickety I will not—

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon Please allow Deputy Sheehan to speak. He has been patient all afternoon and he is entitled to ask a supplementary question.

Mr. Dukes: Information on Alan M. Dukes Zoom on Alan M. Dukes The Minister should not be a gurrier all the time.

Mr. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan Zoom on P. J. Sheehan How much money did the Department spend on coastal erosion in 2002? How much money was allocated to County Cork? Cork is the largest county and comprises one eighth of the entire country. The county has suffered coastal erosion for the past 25 years. The greater part of my constituency is falling into the Atlantic Ocean, but the Minister is doing nothing. How much money was spent on coastal erosion last year and how much was spent on County Cork?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Rory O'Hanlon Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon We have moved outside the realm of the question. I will allow a final reply from the Minister.

Mr. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey Zoom on Frank Fahey The total amount provided for coastal erosion under the national development plan by the Minister for Finance is €44 million. I am not sure of the amount spent last year, but the provision for this year is about €6 million which is a sizeable figure and more than has been spent in the past.

I wish to clarify that it was not my intention to mislead the House. I was not thinking in terms of a written question which might have been tabled some time ago. I was referring to the fact that this is the first time this issue was raised during oral questions.

Mr. Sheehan: Information on P. J. Sheehan Zoom on P. J. Sheehan So no money has been spent on Cork.


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