Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters
I will certainly bring the Senator's concerns back to the Department but I must call out one thing. In his first contribution, the Senator inferred that the Marine Institute was not independent. This is carried out on behalf of the Department. It is the applicants who have made the application, not the Department. I will defend the independence of the Marine Institute and I do not think any inference should be made that it is anything but independent. It is correct to say that it is funded by the Department, as are many State agencies, including An Bord Pleanála and the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board, which was set up under statute as an independent body. Lest there be any confusion here, let me say that the Marine Institute is an independent entity funded in the same way as many other statutory bodies such as the NRA and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.