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  • Northside East

Urgent work on harbour demanded

Wednesday, 12th December, 2018 8:00am
Urgent work on harbour demanded

Howth Harbour. FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Urgent work on harbour demanded

Howth Harbour. FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

THE Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is being urged to prioritise a vital project for Howth Harbour in 2019.

Dublin Bay North TD Tommy Broughan (Ind) said he has been asking the respective Ministers for Agriculture, Food and the Marine about the dredging work for a number of years. 

“The need to dredge the build-up of silt has been an urgent issue for all those working in and around the harbour and for the yacht club and other popular water sports based in Howth,” said Deputy Broughan.

A recent reply to a Parliamentary Question (PQ) from Deputy Broughan showed that in 2015, 2016 and 2017 there were 735, 1,303 and 992 fish landings respectively.  The sum of value of those 735 landings in 2015 was almost €12 million, in 2016 it was just over €15.6 million and in 2017 was almost €11.5 million. “The Government has estimated the cost (of the dredging work) at €20 million but only increased the 2019 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme by €6.29 million to €27.29 million,” argued Deputy Broughan.  

“The build up of silt at Howth is a threat to the livelihoods of everyone who works there and to our sailing and fisheries community and so the dredging is urgently needed.  

“Even the Government’s own report confirmed the need for dredging. I am urging Minister Michael Creed to prioritise a dredging project for 2019.” 

A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said siltation at Howth Fishery Harbour Centre is a “concern” and the Minister is committed to progressing a dredge project to address the issue.

“A number of investigative and preparatory works and initiatives have been undertaken, the results of which are critical to the final design and methodology for the delivery of a future dredge project,” he told Northside People. 

“The Department has also had discussions with Fingal County Council on various technical, operational and permitting aspects of this project.

“This will be a very complex project across a number of fronts, confirmation that the concentrations of contaminants in the sediment to be dredged are such that while the material cannot be considered inert, it can be classified as non hazardous. 

“This means that dumping at sea will not be permitted. This has a significant effect on the project cost.  

“A variety of factors will impact on the cost of a potential dredging project including the disposal options, overall scale of the project and market factors. While the final scope and costs remain to be set, it is likely that the overall cost will exceed €20 million.”

The spokesman said the project will require planning permission, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a Waste License. 

“The permitting process could take up to 24 months,” he said. 

“The Department went to tender on October 3 2018 for a consulting engineering practice to bring the project through the planning, environmental permitting and design phase. 

“The tenders have been adjudicated and it is expected to announce the successful bidder in early December.” 

The spokesman confirmed that Minister Creed has increased the overall Capital Programme for all six Fishery Harbour Centres by €6.29 million to €26.29 million and this will enable the planning, permitting and design work to progress. 

“As this phase of the project could take up to two years no monies are set aside for actual dredging works in Howth in 2019,” he added. 

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