Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Hazardous Waste Removal
I assure the Deputy there are no silo issues at play here. I am cognisant of the fact there are four Cork Deputies in the Chamber at present and all of us recognise the potential in the greater Cork Harbour area, with Haulbowline as a critical part of developing its potential. The Deputy mentioned Spike Island, Great Island and Cobh. I have been to Haulbowline and witnessed this work, so I know there is huge potential. However, we cannot get away from two issues.
The European Court of Justice ruling was about the East Tip and the immediate obligation was to remedy that situation and ensure compliance. Those works are almost complete now and they are exceptionally well done. Hats off to the contractor, the local authority and the staff of my Department on what has been an extraordinary result.
The other critical point is that the anchor tenant on Haulbowline is the Naval Service, which is headquartered there. It will be the ultimate owner of the island. We were charged with the original obligation to remedy the situation that arose following the European Court of Justice ruling, which we have done, but we have also been engaged with all the stakeholders, especially with the Department of Defence, on the future arrangements and the works that need to be done. We have worked with the local authority on the preparation of the necessary works, which it is expected will continue in a holistic fashion. The next step will be the steelworks site, as Deputy Sherlock mentioned, and to continue the investment that is necessary to bring the true potential of Haulbowline to fruition.
There are not any silos at work. There has been very close co-operation between all stakeholders but in particular between the Department of Defence and my Department, the local authorities, the contractors and the local residents, many of whom were the cause of the European Court of Justice ruling initially and what that triggered. We are on a journey here and there is no intention of pausing the journey. Much preparatory work must go into preparing for the next phase of the works and it is continuing as we speak.