Dáil debates

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Topical Issue Debate

Marina Developments

1:25 pm

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-North Leitrim, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. I share his concerns about the damage caused to Kilrush marina by the recent storms.

Kilrush Creek Marina Limited was established in 1992 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shannon Development. Shannon Development is a self-financing semi-State agency which is in transition to become part of the Shannon Group. Kilrush Creek Marina Limited receives an operating subvention from Shannon Development to cover a small operating loss. Capital works are also funded by the parent company, but in recent years capital investment has been at a lower level owing to budgetary constraints and the impending sale of the marina.

It is worth highlighting the provision of the marina by the State represented a significant investment in the growing area of leisure boating. It is significant infrastructure for the tourism sector and the long-term aim of the project is to ensure Kilrush has an amenity to attract boating visitors who will then contribute to the economy of the town and, I hope, be a catalyst for the development of future tourism facilities.

Shannon Development is very keen that the facility be further developed and, therefore, looked in detail at future ownership issues. The Shannon Development board formed the view that private ownership of the marina was the best option for its future development. In 2009 Shannon Development sought expressions of interest for the sale, development and operation of the marina, excluding adjoining development lands which will be retained in State ownership for the new Shannon Group. On 26 February 2010 the board of Shannon Development approved entering into negotiations with a preferred developer, L&M Keating Limited, subject to planning approval being obtained to enhance and develop the marina. Following lengthy negotiations with the preferred developer, a development agreement for the sale and upgrade of Kilrush marina was signed on 21 August 2012 with L&M Keating Limited. The sale agreement is contingent on securing planning permission to undertake upgrading works to the marina. The agreement will facilitate the development of the marina by enabling it to benefit from significant upgrading and redevelopment works, thus enhancing the marina operation. A planning application was submitted in 2013 by the new prospective owner, but it was deemed to be incomplete. Environmental reports are being prepared in support of resubmitting the planning application for the redevelopment of the marina.

The recent storms in the past month have had a devastating effect on the coastline of County Clare. The storms severely impacted on the marina, causing substantial damage to the pontoons and other marina infrastructure. As the sale of the marina will not be finalised until planning permission for the enhancement works is secured, Shannon Development is managing the remedial works, in conjunction with its insurers. An engineer has assessed the works and it is anticipated that Shannon Development will appoint a contractor to carry out remedial works once the insurance assessment is completed and the scope of work agreed to. As far as we are aware, the remedial works have not been included in Clare County Council's recent submission for funding to cover storm damage repairs along the coastline, where extensive damage was caused to publicly accessible amenities and infrastructure which must be prioritised.


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