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Written Answers. - Inland Waterways.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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[988]

 93. Mr. Crawford Information on Seymour Crawford Zoom on Seymour Crawford  asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  if he will give a commitment that over the next five to seven years he will provide matching funds with his Northern Ireland counterparts to restructure and reopen the Ulster Canal; if or when he had discussions with his opposite number in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24346/02]

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Éamon Ó Cuív): Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív As the Deputy will be aware from my reply to him of 9 October 2002, Waterways Ireland commissioned a feasibility study into the re-opening of the Ulster Canal which estimated the cost to be in the region of sterling £90 million based on year 2000 figures. This report was passed to the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the North which co-sponsors the body. In March 2002 the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure requested that the consultants be asked to clarify a number of aspects of the report, mainly in relation to economic assumptions and social needs. This was received in June 2002. It is clear from the report that the project would not be justifiable on economic grounds. Therefore, any consideration would have to be on the basis of the social and general cross-Border benefits to the areas through which the canal passes. A further report was recently commissioned by Waterways Ireland into the various funding options that might exist, and this report is likely to be available in February 2003. On completion of this report the possibility of initiating work on the Ulster Canal will be considered further, North and South. However, I cannot indicate the final outcome at this stage.

Question No. 94 answered with Question No. 90.


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