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Written Answers. - Ilisu Dam Project.

Wednesday, 27 March 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 551 No. 3

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 97. Mr. M. Higgins Information on Michael D. Higgins Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen  if his attention has been drawn to the concerns of the World Archaeological Congress in relation to the Ilisu dam project; if the Government will withhold its support from a recent very limited and tendentious report prepared for a committee of the Council of Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10464/02]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): Information on Brian Cowen Zoom on Brian Cowen I am aware of the concerns of the World Archaeological Congress and others about the construction of the Ilisu dam on the Tigris River in southeastern Turkey. These concerns relate to the effects which construction of the dam may have on the local population, its impact on cultural heritage in the area, particularly the great archaeological sites of Hasankeyf, and the reported lack of adequate consultation with the affected communities on resettlement issues and local claims to cultural heritage.

On 11 December last, the committee on culture, science and education of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe approved an information report on the cultural aspects of the Ilisu dam project. The report was prepared by the committee's general rapporteur on cultural heritage, Mrs. Vlasta Stepová. I presume it is this report to which the Deputy's question refers. It is hoped the Turkish authorities will carefully bear in mind the legitimate concerns which have been expressed about the project. In this context, the information report prepared by the committee on culture, science and education of the parliamentary assembly represents an important contribution to discussion. However, as the Deputy is [822] aware, its conclusions would not be shared by all those with an interest in the matter.


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