Dáil Debates & Questions July 2017
(1) National Parks Projects
(2) Planning Data – Section 5 Declarations
(3) Planning Issues – Donegal
(4) Coillte Lands
(5) Greenway Development – Athlone/Galway
(6) Tourism Funding/Promotion – Donegal
(1) National Parks Projects – 13 July 2017
- Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the timeframe for management plans to be published for Glenveagh, Burren, Connemara and Ballycroy national parks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34838/17]
Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (Deputy Heather Humphreys): In May 2017, I decided to broaden the scope of the Draft Burren National Park Visitor and Traffic Management Plan to include Nature Conservation. The Plan has now become the Burren National Park Management Plan and is in draft form for consideration by my officials. I intend also to produce a Management Plan for the Kerry Biosphere Reserve in the context of the recent UNESCO designation. The Department’s short term focus is on conservation objectives for Natura 2000 sites and as such there are no immediate plans to produce management plans for Ballycroy, Glenveagh, Connemara or Wicklow Mountains National Parks. My Department intends however to produce visitor and management plans for its National Parks on an on-going basis subject to the availability of resources. In this context the Deputy will note that in February of this year the Taoiseach formally announced a Strategic Partnership with Fáilte Ireland and the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department. One major output of this partnership will be a Tourism Interpretation Masterplan. Work has already commenced on this and the consultants are due to report in the last quarter or 2017. The partnership aims to achieve the shared goal of further developing quality visitor experiences at Ireland’s 6 National Parks and Nature Reserves.
(2) Planning Data – Section 5 Declarations – 13 July 2017
- Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the estimated number of section 5 declarations given by each local authority in the latest year available; and the estimated number nationally each year. [33996/17]
Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Planning statistics are compiled by each planning authority on an annual basis for collation and publication on my Department’s website at the following link:
These statistics include data in respect of each authority on planning applications received, the number of invalid applications, decisions to grant or refuse permission etc. However, the statistics gathered do not include information of the type referred to by the Deputy in respect of the number of section 5 declarations issued.
However, section 5(5) of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, requires that details of any declaration issued by a planning authority, or of a decision by the Board on referral, must be placed on the planning register and be available for public inspection. These can be accessed through the websites of the relevant local authority, or An Bord Pleanála, as appropriate.
(3) Planning Issues – Donegal – 13th July 2017
- Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government the status of the senior counsel investigation into certain planning matters in County Donegal; the timeframe involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34245/17]
Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy): Senior Counsel has completed his review of certain planning matters in respect of Donegal County Council and a report was submitted to my Department on 12 June 2017.
My Department is currently reviewing and assessing the contents of the report with the aim of preparing a submission for me as soon as possible. Legal advice has been sought in relation to the matter of publication. Once the relevant submission and any legal advices have been considered, I will be in a position to consider the matter further.
(4) Coillte Teoranta Lands – 26th July 2017
- Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the sale of a village (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36032/17]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Coillte was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act 1988 and day-to-day operational matters, such as the management of their forest estate and land transactions, are the responsibility of the company.
The matter was, however, raised with Coillte who advise that a sales contract for the sale of Killykeen Holiday Complex in County Cavan was completely finalised when the final contract was agreed and signed with CABÜ in May 2017. Coillte also advise that, as stated in their press announcement of 10 May 2017, CABÜ hope to open this holiday destination for visitors by April 2018 with a view to developing the site further over a period of three years.
(5) Greenways Development–Athlone/Galway – 26th July 2017
- Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the greenway west of Athlone. [35801/17]
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As the Deputy will be aware, concerns were expressed by a number of landowners in Galway following the publication of the initial ‘preferred route’ identified for the Greenway from Athlone to Galway and my predecessor instructed Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and Galway County Council to consult landowners along the route in relation to their concerns. Following the publication of the TII report on these consultations, a decision was taken in late 2015 to pause development of the Greenway west of Athlone to allow all stakeholders to consider how best to progress this project. It is now recognised that the approach taken initially in relation to the preferred route was sub-optimal and lessons have been learned from that experience.
My Department recently completed a public consultation process to inform the development of a Strategy for the future development of greenways in Ireland. The objective of the new strategy will be to set out a cohesive and forward looking approach to the development, funding and promotion of greenways generally. The issues affecting the delivery of a greenway between Athlone and Galway will be among those considered.
A substantial number of submissions have been received by my Department in response to the public consultation process. I was pleased with the level of interest shown by private
citizens and stakeholders alike whose views will now be considered in the coming weeks and months as the strategy is being developed.
Details of the submissions received will be available in the public domain in due course.
(6) Tourism Project Funding – Donegal – 26th July 2017
- Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for developing marine tourism in County Donegal; the way in which such plans could easily supplement the success of the Wild Atlantic Way; his strategy to maximise the marine tourism potential for coastal counties; the timeframe for its implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36125/17]
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): My Department’s role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of national tourism policy. It is not directly involved in the management or development of individual tourism projects, such as the development of individual strategies to promote marine or other tourism products such as the Wild Atlantic Way. These are operational matters for the Board and Management of Fáilte Ireland.
Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy’s question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply to the Deputy. Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.
Also if the deputy has any specific suggestions or idea’s I would gladly meet with him to discuss them with him.
- Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans for developing tourism on off shore islands and especially in County Donegal; his strategy to increase visitor numbers to the islands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36126/17]
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Brendan Griffin): My Department’s role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of developing national tourism policy, while the tourism agencies have operational responsibility for the implementation of this policy. The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for the boards and management of the two tourism agencies – Tourism Ireland in regard to overseas tourism marketing and Fáilte Ireland in regard to regional tourism development and domestic tourism promotion.
Accordingly I have referred the Deputy’s question to the two tourism agencies for direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.
Also if the deputy has any specific suggestions or ideas I would gladly meet with him to discuss them with him.